Category: Niagara Falls Ontario

Niagara Falls receives nearly $8 million from OLG in first quarter

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From Niagara This Week:

The city is set to surpass the $100-million mark in revenues derived from hosting two OLG casinos.

Niagara Falls received a first-quarter payment of $7.8 million from the OLG as a part of its hosting agreement for Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino Resort. The payment brings the total non-tax gaming revenue paid to the city to $98.9 million since Casino Niagara first opened its doors in 1996.

“OLG gaming revenue provide essential funding to host communities, which offers greater ability to invest in infrastructure projects as well as important local programs and services that benefit families,” said Charles Sousa, Ontario’s minister of finance. “These funds directly benefit Ontario’s critical public services such as health care and education, and local development.”

Tour operator blasts Falls tourism fee

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

A Toronto tour operator has blasted the city’s Destination Marketing Fee (DMF) in an e-mail forwarded to council members, saying it “damages the image of Niagara as a welcoming tourist destination.”

Jacob Stevens, owner of Tripsetter Inc., is angry that the fee – up to 10% at some hotels – is “unaccountable,” and makes the cost of visiting Niagara more prohibitive.

“By imposing an optional fee, (it) only stains the image of Niagara Falls and heightens the ‘tourist trap’ perception,” he wrote in a recent e-mail. “As a result, this can negatively influence one’s decision to visit or not.”

It reflects many of the same concerns shared on open forums like Trip Advisor, but when Stevens brought it up with a Niagara Falls Tourism member, he was told Trip Advisor is “fake news.”

What’s next for Niagara Falls’ Downtown BIA?

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From Niagara This Week:

Some members of the Downtown BIA who had concerns over how the business organization is being run are taking a wait-and-see approach as to what comes next.

And, despite the resignation of board chair Julio Batres-Gavidia, Lisa Thomas, a Queen Street business owner and member of the BIA board who went to the media with concerns over how the organization is being run, said she remains “skeptical” as to whether there would be change.

Niagara Falls council wants ‘flawed’ casino RFP process stopped

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From Niagara This Week:

The city plans to explore all “available legal avenues” with the hopes of getting the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) to halt the process of procuring a new operator for Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino Resort.

At a special council meeting on June 22, council voted unanimously in support of a resolution that refers to OLG’s request for proposals (RFP) process as “flawed” with its emphasis on revenue for the province, while ignoring economic development and job creation.

According to a report completed by HLT consultants on behalf of the City, the OLG’s plan could result in the loss of up to 1,400 jobs at the two casinos.

Special council meeting Thursday

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

A special council meeting has been called for Thursday to discuss the city’s continued concerns about Ontario Lottery and Gaming’s modernization plan.

“We’ve gone on record with having serious concerns with modernization, the way it’s being rolled out, and serious concerns of up to 1,400 jobs being in jeopardy (at the casinos in Niagara Falls),” said Mayor Jim Diodati.

“We’ve done a couple of public meetings and rallies and gatherings (opposing the plan) – we’ve met with the provincial government, we’ve met with OLG, and (Thursday’s meeting will be about) next-step endorsements from council.”

Council is also scheduled to deal with a funding grant application for this year’s New Year’s Eve concert.

Review columnist says goodbye

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

Sherman Zavitz has closed the book on one chapter in his life.

Over the past 26 years, he has written around 900 columns on local history for the Niagara Falls Review. His final Niagara Note column will appear in Saturday’s newspaper.

“It has become increasingly difficult for me to come up with solid, entertaining, suitable topics,” said Zavitz, the official historian for the City of Niagara Falls and Niagara Parks.

“Rather than see the column decline in quality, I felt that maybe it’s time to retire. It was a tough decision to make.”

Special events prompt Niagara Falls road closures

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From Niagara This Week:

A half-marathon and television taping will result in a number of road closures along the Niagara Parkway and Clifton Hill over the next week.

Following are closures and lane reductions that are scheduled:…

Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon — Sunday, June 4

Live with Kelly & Ryan Television Broadcast

WEGO Service on Monday, June 5

See also:
Niagara Falls Review – Niagara Parks road closures

More funding means brighter Niagara Falls event

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From Niagara This Week:

Organizers of the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights say extra funding from the city will allow for the festival to expand its programming for the 2017-18 event.

On May 9, city politicians approved a request for $300,000 in additional funding so organizers could expand programming to mark a number of milestones — the festival’s 35th anniversary, along with the sesquicentennial of both Ontario and Canada.

“Not only will this funding allow us to draw more visitors to Niagara Falls but at the same time we can expand our programming which provides locals with a world-class festival right here in Niagara,” said Tina Myers, executive director of the festival.

Halt development charges on new hotels: Thomson

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

A suggestion from Niagara Falls Coun. Wayne Thomson the city and Niagara Region put a moratorium on development charges for new hotel developments is a “really interesting concept,” says regional chairman Alan Caslin.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Caslin told Thomson when he recently updated local politicians about several regional council activities.

“Development charges, as you know, are meant to offset the cost of the infrastructure in the ground and on the streets. Let’s look at it with a lens of what does that infrastructure cost, really, instead of just the cookie-cutter development charge — what’s the real cost of that infrastructure, and is that substantially less than what they would have paid, and is that a benefit that we might be able to afford through economic development.”…

Thomson said Niagara Falls has 27 hotel development projects on the books “that have been approved and ready to go,” but have not proceeded.

Does hotel tax mean end of Niagara Falls DMF?

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

Will a new hotel tax the province has granted municipalities power to impose replace the notorious Destination Marketing Fee in Niagara Falls?

There were lots of guesses after Thursday’s provincial budget, but not much clarification. Even Mayor Jim Diodati is unsure just what the new tax is, and what it means for the city.

“I’ve got a lot of questions I need answers to, but if it’s done right this could be a good thing,” said Diodati Friday. “I’m guessing that the province’s idea is not to add a tax, but to create an environment that’s more accountable, more transparent, more consistent.

“But at this point, we’re still in the dark on it.”

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