There is an odd dance to city consultations, what with the orchestrated movement of city staff, councilors, lobbyists, concerned citizens, and gadflies. So it was last night at Toronto’s first casino consultation. City staff dutifully stood around to field questions. Citizens awkwardly moved about the rotunda, looking at the bristol-board proposals as if they were at an unwelcoming museum. And there were the lobbyists, coolly observing the earnest proceedings from the sidelines.
The anti-casino councillors in attendance (Etobicoke North’s Vincent Crisanti was the only councillor there in the pro camp) heard complaints about the lack of engagement in what was shaping up to be a lacklustre consultation—until Parkdale–High Park councillor Gord Perks took the lead to change the tempo of the evening. He stood on a platform, gathered attention, and then directed anyone who wanted to share their input to a committee room upstairs. City Manager Joe Pennachetti was not exactly pleased.
But before that happened, we spoke to 25 consultation attendees to hear their thoughts. Here’s what they had to say, in a handy oddsmaker format that’ll give you an idea of what to expect at the next four consultations happening between now and Jan. 19:
3:1 Odds that a particular person at the consultation supported a casino
5:3 Odds that people are concerned about the social impact of a casino
5:1 Odds that someone would mention being concerned about the potential car traffic a casino would bring
12:1 Odds that the individual would say a world-class city should have a casino
12:1 Odds that the individual would say a world-class city should avoid a casino
12:1 Odds that the individual would invoke the theories of Toronto-based urban guru Richard Florida
4:1 Odds that a casino supporter would want it because there’s “nothing to do” in the city.
25:1 Odds that someone would compare OLG chair Paul Godfrey to the Terminator
1:1 Odds the evening would end with an Adam Vaughan zinger: “[Godfrey] was wrong about the Spadina Expressway, he was wrong about Metro Hall, he was wrong about amalgamation, and he’s bloody well wrong about a casino.”