Saturday, 29 September 2012

I'M ALL IN.....for saying NO to a Casino in Kingston.

This is a copy of the letter that I am sending the Kingston Whig Standard in hopes that it will get published. I'm addressing it to City Council as they are the key decision makers in the next step of the process.

Kingston City Council;   
It is with a deep sense of urgency that I write this letter.  I believe that as a citizen it is my duty to voice my concern around issues pertaining to governance, quality of life, and legacy.
I attended the City of Kingston’s Public Form on the Casino Wed August 8th, 2012. I was encouraged and not the least bit surprised to hear a number of people speak so insightfully to issues of concern pertaining to the potential of a casino in our city. Values of care and accountability for each other were captured passionately at this meeting. Moreover, comments that were made were, in many case, supported by evidence; and those that were of a personal experiential  nature reminded us of the need to focus this decision by giving priority to the whole person, and how they are able to find quality of life here in Kingston.
I spoke to the area of governance and legacy. I said that the prospects of a casino seem to fly in the face of our Strategic Plan. I suggested that the idea of a casino does not align with the environmental, cultural and social pillars of the plan. The downtown business association suggested that the idea of a casino does not align with the economic pillar.

For this reason, I do not understand why it is that the casino conversation is still on the table. If the goals of this plan is community betterment, surely a proposition which  it will require that we make decisions that are for the benefit of this community.
I respect that there are many competing forces at work. I respect that it has taken time to gather more information. And I respect that time has been needed for reflection and considers.
I will not respect a response from council that suggests that developers and investors take priority over citizens – especially in light of the strategic plan. I will not respect the notion that the revenue generation from a casino is so significant that it could provide supports and programs to counter the harm the casino would create. I will not respect that fact that you are comfortable to let organizations, like the OLG, pervert your vision for the city.
Winston Churchill once said that “The price of greatness is responsibility”. If this is true, as I believe it is, I charge you with the call you to greatness. I charge you with the call to consider the legacy you will leave with your choice. I charge you with the call to be courageous: to speak for our city –its economic, environmental, social and cultural health. I charge at such a crucial time all in regards to the pending casino decision.
Brenda Slomka