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Pickering council approves zoning change for Durham Live, making way for casino

Pickering city council has approved a zoning change that will allow a new mega-entertainment complex, possibly including a casino, at the intersection of Bayly and Church streets.

The proposed 89-hectare project, dubbed Durham Live, would be the largest entertainment complex of its kind in the region.

Built by Pickering Developments, the plan includes a hotel, indoor water park, an outdoor amphitheatre, a movie theatre, restaurants, nature trails and a casino.

Back on Oct. 27, voters in Pickering were asked on the ballot whether or not they would support the project. The referendum revealed 60 per cent of Pickering residents voted in favour of the Durham Live project and a casino.

The next stage in the development process involves finalizing the design, identifying development user partners and waiting for the province to decide on a casino location.

Pickering council approved the zoning bylaw on Monday at its council meeting.

“We are delighted with the results from Council,” Steve Apostolopoulos, president of real estate development company Pickering Developments, said in a release.

“The City has a mandate from the residents of Pickering and we anticipate that this vote may create some impetus for the Provincial OLG Modernization Program.”

Back in February, CityNews broke the story that a developer bought land in Pickering where it hoped to build a casino.

At the time, CityNews reported that 14 hectares would remain as green space.

In September, Pickering council approved a motion to instruct staff to move forward with a zoning bylaw for the proposed $1.6-billion tourism development that would see the construction of a casino.

The zoning bylaw would permit roughly 40 uses for the site, including hotels, offices and a casino.

With files from Amber LeBlanc, Natalie Duddridge and Keeley Rogers