SCUGOG: Council has learned the services the Township provides to the Scugog Island first nation reserve and the Great Blue Heron Casino costs about $1.2 million annually.
At a meeting on Monday, May 15th, Gary Scandlan, from Watson and Associates Economists Ltd., presented the findings of a fiscal impact assessment regarding the present cost of providing municipal services to the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation (MSIFN) reserve and the Great Blue Heron Casino.
According to Scugog CAO Paul Allore, in 2000 the Mississaugas of Scugog Island entered into an agreement with the township to share a portion of the casino’s revenue with the Township, 30 per cent of their 5 per cent host community share. The agreement lasted until September of 2016, when OLG took over management of the casino.
However, in July of 2016 OLG committed to continue to pay the Township at the 2015 rate for a 12-month period.
Under the temporary agreement, the payments were going to cease on Sept. 7th, unless a municipal service agreement was reached. However, earlier this month OLG extended the deadline to Dec. 31st.
“It’s vitally important for the Township to continue to receive contributions from the Great Blue Heron Casino,” Mr. Allore said.
The Township retained Watson and Associates in the fall of 2016 to conduct a fiscal impact assessment.
“What we were tasked with was to identify the costs associated with the township services provided not only to the OLG, but also to the reserve lands, because obviously they receive access to recreational services, they receive fire assistance, they receive road clearings etc.,” Mr. Scandlan said.
Mr. Scandlan’s report estimates the current annual service cost to the First Nation is $290,000 and the annual service cost for the casino is $894,000.
“I think there was talk from the OLG about a fee for service [arrangement.] I think it would be very difficult to have a fee for service [arrangement],” Mr. Scandlan said.
Council later voted to receive Mr. Scandlan’s report, to have the Mayor and CAO continue discussions with the OLG and the Mississaugas in order to establish a service agreement, and to request Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister Charles Sousa to review and reinstate the revenue sharing agreement which existed from 2000 until 2016.