Cord Editorial: Region can survive without a casino
One of the most popular debates in cities and towns across southern Ontario is whether to fund casino projects in hopes of economic stimulus and long term economic gains. Kitchener and Waterloo are the latest cities to consider a casino, and the debate has become even more complicated after neighbouring Woolwich supported the notion of a casino project. If approved, the Woolwich casino would socially impact Waterloo Region as a whole, but only Woolwich would experience the financial upside.
In K-W, opposition to the casino outweighs the support, but there are concerns as to whether public opinion is being accurately heard.
A mere 2,326 in Kitchener responded to online polls on the subject. Moreover, those who did respond did not reflect the larger Kitchener population. Based on volunteered opinions, Woolwich,
Kitchener, and Waterloo are 70 per cent opposed to a casino. But the real issues are whether that number is accurate and if it matters. Woolwich approved plans for a casino even with the 70 per cent opposition. To combat the danger of misrepresentation, more people need to care and pollsters need to ask the right questions to the right people. The municipalities have a responsibility to serve the public opinion and thus need to accurately gauge public opinion in the first place.
The Waterloo Region is known for its arts, culture, sense of community, and its focus on technology and manufacturing. Casinos can be economically beneficial, but are not the economic saviour they are advertised to be. Nor does K-W need a saviour.
A casino reflects a lack of innovation, creativity and belief in the city or town it inhabits. Continuing to focus on what makes K-W unique and prosperous is a far safer bet than approving plans for a casino, especially if it contradicts public opinion.
—The Cord Editorial Board