Allison Crewe is the creator of a petition making the rounds on social media, as well as in community groups around the city. The petition would like the proposed amendments to the Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment to re-designate and re-zone municipal land known as the “former Abitibi Mill site” to exclude casinos and all other gaming facilities from being built on the former Abitibi Mill site.
As written, the amendments will allow the new Kenora casino being planned by Gateway Casinos & Entertainment to be built on the newly designated General Commercial zone at the corner of Veterans Drive and Ninth Street.
Crewe said the location will cause problems.
"It is a heavily residential area, traffic is already congested in that area as it is, and with the increase of traffic and people into that area it wouldn't be the best place for a casino in our town," she said.
She also expressed concern for local businesses.
"The close proximity to downtown raised concerns about whether our local businesses could compete against the restaurant prices that Gateway is able to offer,"
"I drive down Barskey's hill to drive my son to school, and when I look at that property I see a lot of potential for a lot of good things. I think driving down that hill and seeing a casino won't make me feel good, as someone who wants to spend my life here and raise my children here. I don't think it's something that our children have to see going to school everyday, or people commuting to work. I see a lot of needs in our community, affordable housing keeps coming up over and over again. I want my kids to be able to afford their first home here, and I want there to be housing, I want that burden to be lifted."
"In the proposal from the city, they want a mixed diversity of economic opportunities and a casino will take up a large portion of land. You need parking for all those people, and a hotel to accommodate all those people. We need more space then that space provides if we want a casino to flourish," she said.
Crewe said she doesn't know what should go on the property, but feels it should be something the whole community can enjoy.
"There are better minds then mine to know what should go there, but you know a daycare and a playground. Something we can enjoy as a town, and be beautiful. Casinos aren't very beautiful," she said.
She said the response to the petition has been very affirming for her. As of the writing of this article 330 people had signed the online petition.
Crewe is planning to make a delegation to council next week on the issue.
One important thing that Allison Crewe would like people to know is that she isn't against a casino in Kenora, she's simply opposed to the proposed location, at the old Abitibi Mill property.
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