Casino construction suspended pending end to COVID-19 restrictions

Saturday 25th April 2020

Construction of the new Cascades Casino in North Bay remains on hold as restrictions put in place for workplaces continue across the province.

Gateway Casinos & Entertainment director of communications and public affairs Rob Mitchell says work has stopped at the construction site as per the instructions of the provincial government.

Earlier this month, the Ontario government reduced its list of essential businesses and ordered more workplaces to close as part of its effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

As part of that order only critical construction, such as industrial and infrastructure projects, were allowed to continue.

All casinos in the province also have closed for the time being.

"We stopped work at our North Bay site and we stopped work at all our sites that are under construction right now," Mitchell said.

Due to the uncertainty around how long the province's state of emergency is expected to last, it remains to be seen when construction of the North Bay casino will resume.

On Thursday, the province extended all emergency orders to May 6.

"All of us are hoping this is resolved soon," Mitchell said.

Located on Pinewood Park Drive, just south of Decaire Road, the $31-million, 39,000-square-foot casino officially broke ground in May 2019, with the promise of creating around 300 jobs once finished.

Gateway Casinos began advertising certain senior positions as early as February.

And in March, a majority of council approved a new revenue-sharing agreement with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., with the city set to receive 5.25 per cent of the first $65 million generated from slots, as well as four per cent from live table games.

Depending on how many people visit the casino, the city could be in a position to make between $1 million to $2 million in gaming revenue annually, along with another $500,000-$800,000 based on how much the building is assessed at.

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