NEWS

Matlow says council likely to reject casino at meeting

05/19/2013 06:41 EDT | Updated 07/19/2013 05:12 EDT
City councillors will debate the casino issue at Toronto City Hall on Tuesday, despite Mayor Rob Ford’s prior efforts to quash the meeting.

"It's not the mayor who gets to decide whether or not a casino is going to happen, just like he couldn't say that Transit City was dead or really any city policy," Coun. Josh Matlow said during an interview with CBC News on Sunday.

"It's for council to decide whether or not a casino is approved or denied."

Ford had long supported building a downtown casino, but held a surprise news conference last week to announce that he had cancelled a special meeting on the casino issue that had been scheduled.

Declaring the project all but dead, Ford said he was cancelling the meeting because the province was not giving the city the information it needed to know about the compensation it would receive for hosting a casino.

The mayor said the city needed to receive at least $100-million annually in order for the project to be worthwhile. The province then leaked the fact that Toronto would barely be offered half that figure under a revised formula.

After the mayor's announcement, Coun. Mike Layton said he would speak with other councillors before taking steps to reinstate the meeting, which he said was necessary even if council rejects the casino proposal.

"Let's have the debate, let's finish this off," Layton said.

Twenty-four councillors then signed a petition, which is allowing the meeting to take place on Tuesday.

Matlow said he expects that council "most likely will deny a proposal for a casino," though he acknowledged there are some councillors who favour building a casino who also want the vote to happen.

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