Several employees showed up for work at Kawartha Downs in Fraserville on Monday only to discover they had been locked out.
Last week, the provincial government announced a deal was agreed to by Kawartha Downs to keep at least 150 slot machines at the site as well as save harness racing at the facility just south of Peterborough.
Peterborough’s new casino opens Monday and that was supposed to be the end of the facility at Kawartha Downs, but the deal would keep both sites running, despite being only 10 minutes apart.
“I’m very disappointed in the rush to open the new casino,” said Scott McFadden, mayor of Cavan Monaghan Township. “Between 30 and 40 employees are getting temporary layoff notices until it reopens. We’ve told soon, but that’s not reassuring to the employees who rely on a paycheque to cover their bills.”
READ MORE: Peterborough casino set to open Monday
“I just want to know, do I have a job or not?,” asked Kellie Warren, a 19-year employee at Kawartha Downs. “If I do, when do I report back? I want to know. I need to pay my bills.”
“I came in after I received a call at 5:30 a.m. from security that we were not allowed access to the kitchen or anything on the casino side,” said Karen Towns, the food and beverage director at Kawartha Downs.
A dozen employees ended up having breakfast on the harness racing side of the facility, instead of working their normal shifts.
“There’s been a lot of ambiguity this weekend as to what’s going on,” said Orazio Valente, general manager of Kawartha Downs. “Any timelines of it reopening doesn’t involve us. We are waiting for official word from the proper government agencies, then we will act accordingly.”
Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) released a statement:
“We are working with Kawartha Downs to mitigate the impact of the temporary closure of Shorelines Slots at Kawartha Downs on employees. Kawartha Downs has advised that no employee has been – or will be — laid off as a result of this brief closure. We look forward to the re-launch of Shorelines Slots at Kawartha Downs in approximately two weeks time, and we thank the community for their patience.”
Approximately 40 food and beverage, administrative staff and managers work at Kawartha Downs.