Province to continue to pay Durham's casino communities

Monday 6th April 2020

In Scugog, the township said its municipal service agreement "should not" be affected by the casino closures.

On April 1, the municipality received a quarterly payment of $231,925.90, said Lori Bowers, a township spokeswoman.

While OLG said this week its municipal service agreement fees are not disclosed publicly, Scugog trumpeted its newly signed agreement with the province in November 2017. At that time, the township said it would receive more than $874,000 annually for nearly the next 10 years in lieu of a share of revenues from the Great Blue Heron Casino.

In return for the funds, Scugog will provide road maintenance of all township roads providing access to the casino, which will include plowing, sanding, grading, ditching, repairing potholes and other services. Scugog will also continue to provide fire services and emergency response services for the casino.

Prior to that new agreement, Scugog had received a share of the revenues from the Scugog Island casino, topping out at about $1.8 million annually in 2000 before sliding to about $1.1 million in recent years.

The deal was made necessary after the OLG took over the conduct and management of the casino in September 2016, which terminated the revenue-sharing agreement.

The township will receive quarterly payments from the OLG, with the fee to be indexed annually. The initial deal will run from Jan. 1, 2018, to March 31, 2027 (running nine years and three months) and OLG has an option to extend that term for additional terms of five years. Those renewals will allow Scugog to negotiate an increase in payments if municipal service levels increase.

However, while the OLG agreement with Scugog has run for more than two years now, the township has yet to ink a municipal service agreement with the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation. A May 2017 report to council estimated the township provides services to the MSIFN lands valued at about $290,000.

That same report estimated the provides $894,000 worth of services to the casino each year. Total township service costs for the casino and Scugog Island First Nation lands totalled about $1,184,000 per year, said the report.

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