The Sault Ste. Marie EDC is paying Thunder Bay consultant $90,000 to help the city convince private companies awarded contracts from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to keep the OLG jobs in the Sault.
Tom Dodds, CEO of the SSM EDC addressed council Monday night on the progress of the plan to convince the yet to be determined private partners for the OLG to keep the Sault as the main headquarters of the corporation and perhaps even expand the jobs here.
"When the Provincial government back in 1988 announced that the Sault would be home to the OLG - it was made for a reason, some if not all of those reasons still exists today" Joe Fratesi, Sault Ste. Marie CAO told council during the presentation from Dodds.
Earlier this year council funded a $100,000 request from the EDC to create a business plan and case to keep the Sault as the main hub for the crown corporation when the OLG announced it was implementing a modernization and privatization of the OLG.
What exactly the OLG and the private companies awarded contracts to oversee the operation of the OLG will look like is still a guessing game and that is not lost on Dodds.
"We have to convince those private companies that the Sault makes the best choice to keep those jobs here" Dodds said.
Part of the plan is consulting with Rob Moore, the man who wrote the document ,"Modernizing Lottery and Gaming in Ontario" that document was the basis for the plan for the OLG to privatize.
Dodds also reports that they have hired Tom Dalton, a former chief operating officer for the OLG.
The $90,000 paid to consultants is exclusive for the Sault - meaning the same consultants can not help another city to do the same thing. The consultants will tell the EDC which private gaming companies should be targeted and what jobs need to be saved in the Sault.
The real scare of course is building a business case for the Sault while most of the gaming companies bidding for the contracts are likely based in Southern Ontario.
Any loss of OLG jobs locally will have a major impact on the Sault's economy.
Currently the OLG contributes about $46 million in payroll with over 560 employees working out of the Roberta Bondar Building, home of the OLG. Another 300 employees work at the SSM Casino which alone contributes $15 million annually in payroll.
At least one councillor says the city is wasting it's time and money on the plan.
"This isn't our decision, this is Provincial decision, and they will do what they want " piped in Ward 6 councillor Frank Manzo.
Todds fired back saying the idea of this plan is to send a clear message that the Sault is embracing the modernization of the crown corporation.
OLG wants to increase it's revenues by $1.6 billion a year and help pay down the Province's $15 Billion deficit by the end of 2018
The OLG is expected to launch a call for proposals from private companies this fall.
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Will the EDC Plan Work to Keep OLG Jobs in the Sault
Craig Huckerby for local2 sault ste. marie
August 14th, 2012 at 1:59pm