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Pickering mulls over casino proposal

A developer wants to build a casino and entertainment complex on vacant land in Pickering, seen on Feb. 27, 2014. CITYNEWS

A developer has bought land in Pickering where it hopes to build a casino, after similar proposals in Toronto, Markham and Vaughan failed.

Dubbed Durham Live, the complex would include three hotels, a convention centre, a performing arts centre, an amphitheatre, three office towers, a waterpark — and a casino.

The project would span 55 hectares near Bayly and Church streets. Another 35 would remain as green space.

“I think Pickering’s day in the sunshine has arrived,” said Deputy Mayor Doug Dickerson.

“The great thing about this project is that it’s not contingent on a casino. This project is viable enough to stand its own without a casino.”

Whether or not a casino goes in is up to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., but if approved it would scuttle one at nearby Ajax Downs because the two are in the same district.

“Pickering has indicated their desire to proceed and OLG will be there to provide direction and give support where necessary,” said Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa.

Pickering residents can have their say at a public meeting in early April. A city staff report will follow in June or July.