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Dealtown Casino Hotel and Retirement Village Initiative

Easter Bunny Delivers Rotten Eggs to CK…

Easter Bunny Delivers Rotten Eggs to CK…

Chatham-Kent – April 7, 2012:  The Dealtown Casino and Retirement Village initiative is dead!  Kenny Rogers said it best, “you have to know when to hold them and know when to fold them!”  The Easter Bunny had nothing but rotten eggs for Brian Keenan, the self-appointed Chairman of the Dealtown initiative.  After checking his Easter basket and finding nothing but rotten eggs, he realized that it was time to fold this hand.

The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was the 9 to 8 vote by Chatham-Kent city council that defeated a simple motion by Councillor Art Sterling to support Keenan’s ambitious Dealtown job creation initiative.  The implications of that vote were more far-reaching then even Keenan, the ultimate optimist and passionate visionary, could have anticipated.  Instead of a strong commitment letter from Las Vegas developer, Paragon Gaming Inc., he received an email on Thursday saying, “we are not in a position to support this (Dealtown Casino Initiative) project.”  Not unexpectedly they went on to say “Paragon may pursue other projects in Ontario.”

Keenan says, “I don’t blame Paragon’s decision to “cherry pick” the many opportunities being created by OLG’s decision to privatize all of its slots and casino facilities in Ontario.  I do however criticize Mayor Hope and his economic development team for their lack of vision and support.” The initiative, if successful, would have created several thousand jobs for CK and ushered in a period of unprecedented economic development for this dying community.  “I made a very big mistake trusting the mayor and his staff to communicate my plan to transform the Southwestern Regional Centre (SWRC) into a destination resort to the city councillors.”  When the vote came the majority of the CK councillors were simply ill-informed, misinformed or not informed at all. “It’s hard to make great music as a one man band!” says Brian.

Keenan also misjudged the support, or lack thereof, from the general public and even fellow realtors in the municipality who stood to gain the most from the biggest real estate boom ever to hit this area.

Last, but not least of all, was the decision by the City to pass on its option to purchase the SWRC from the Ontario government for $1.00.  According to Keenan, this was the wild card that gave CK a major advantage over other communities in Southwestern Ontario who are also looking to reap the benefits of OLG’s modernization plan for the gaming industry in Ontario.

Here are Keenan’s closing predictions:

-           The Slots at the Dresden raceway will close by this time next year and the  track will see the last of its horse racing this season;

-          Mayor Hope and his band of merry men in economic development will lobby the OLG for an expanded gaming centre with more slots and possibly even some table games to be located somewhere in downtown “Chatham”;

-          The city residents will rebel and fight to keep this mini casino out of the city;

-          London will be chosen as the primary hub for an expanded gaming centre in OLG’s newly created Southwestern Ontario zone;

-          Chatham will lose its $650,000 annual gaming subsidy if it doesn’t find a new home for the Dresden slots; and

-          The future of CK will once again depend on a white knight coming along to save the Navistar facility from demolition.

In closing Keenan says, “I do want to thank those people who offered me both encouragement and support for this initiative.  I especially want to thank the members of media for sharing my vision with the public fairly, and rather frequently.  Lastly, I want to offer encouragement to others who may have idea’s, concepts or dreams to stand firmly behind your convictions.  Who knows, maybe next year, the bunny may have chocolate Easter eggs filled with jobs in his basket for you, instead of the rotten eggs he left for me.”

By Brian Keenan
The X-Chairman of the Dealtown Casino Initiative
Email :
Tel: 519-365-6090

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