Gateway Casinos seeks to relocate its Innisfil casino

Gateway are pursuing a ministerial zoning order to expedite the moving process

Gateway Casinos is seeking a ministerial zoning order (MZO) to move its Innisfil casino to a new location in the town.

Gateway is hoping to move its Innisfil facility to a recently purchased 25-acre plot at the Innisfil Creek Golf Course from its current location at the Georgian Downs Racetrack.

Due to time constraints on its current lease at Georgian Downs, the operator has an ambitious timeline of obtaining building permits by the end of the year which it won’t be able to do if using the standard planning process.

As a result, Gateway is pursuing an MZO which would expedite this process.

“Gateway has some timing limitations associated with its current lease and in association with their project timelines,” said HMBC Planning partner Jamie Robinson. “Going through a standard planning process — an official plan and zoning bylaw amendment — would not allow them to achieve those timelines.”

Gateway Casinos Executive Vice-President Jagat Nijjar was present at a meeting with the council on April 24 and he confirmed that the planned move was due to the expiring lease, but also a desire to remain in the community.

This was something that was echoed by Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin, who hailed the impact of the more than $100 million in revenue the community has received from the casino since it opened in 2018.

“It is a very important part of Innisfil and a way to supply some things that maybe we typically couldn’t afford to give to our residents,” she said. “It’s important to us to keep this opportunity within our borders,” added Dollin.

The casino currently employs 265 people and Nijjar said that the move to the new site would create an additional 200 jobs.

The matter will now be referred to town staff so a report can be created for council’s review and, even if an MZO is granted, additional regulatory approvals would be required before the casino can move locations.

The British Columibia-based company has been renovating or replacing its casinos in recent years and in September last year it began work on a $50 million overhaul of its Gateway Casinos London facility.

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