Lottery licensing issue raised

With the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship getting turned down for a lottery licence in 2005, town reps got their chance to voice their opinion to the province on how lottery licensing works during the annual Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association meeting last Thursday and Friday in Thunder Bay.
In light of upcoming revisions being made to the Municipal Act, Mayor Dan Onichuk said yesterday that he, along with Couns. John Albanese and Tannis Drysdale, got to make a presentation to Municipal Affairs and Housing minister John Gerretsen on the matter—and he felt the minister listened to the town’s concerns.
“We asked that when they’re making these changes to the Municipal Act that they do a review of the lottery licensing procedure,” noted Mayor Onichuk.
“One of the recommendations we made is that they give authority to the councils of the smaller communities to identify ‘significant events’ so we could approve licensing whether it met all the criteria or not.
“The town doesn’t operate as a charitable organization, and you have to have charitable organization status in order to get a lottery licence.
“We flagged the issue of the bass tournament and them being unable to have a raffle to operate Daytime Land,” added the mayor.
“The minister was all ears. He was very interested in hearing the problems there, and understood that it just doesn’t make sense.
“You’re having a lottery so you can provide things to do for young children—it’s not just a bunch of guys fishing, and beer drinking and entertainment.
“He was very open to that.”
Speaking more generally, Mayor Onichuk noted the NOMA conference was a “well-packed couple of days,” which focused not only on the Municipal Act but also forestry, including a presentation from the Ontario Forestry Council (OFC) on the need for the province to lower hydro rates.
Other topics covered at the meeting included Provincial Land Tax reform, municipal ethics, capital asset accounting, a review of downloaded services, pandemic planning, and alternative energy sources.