Ottawa city councillors voted Wednesday in favour of a tax break program intended to encourage more companies to move to the city's eastern suburb.
City staff recommended last month the city find new ways to lure businesses to Orleans. The vote by city council gives them approval to go forward with their preferred solution, which involves granted a delay on tax payments for firms that move to the area.
The idea is to reduce problems such as traffic congestion on the Queensway by getting more people working close to where they live. The report cited census figures that show a far lower percentage of those who live in Orleans also work there, especially when compared to similar areas such as Kanata.
Councillors also voted to restructure the formula that calculates how much tax revenue it receives from gambling at a facility in the city’s south end.
The city gets money for the slots at Rideau Carleton Raceway from the provincial body responsible for gambling, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.
The city has received more than $4 million in tax revenue in each of the past four years, a sum staff describe in their report as “significant income.” Staff said that under the newly proposed agreement with the OLG, they should get an extra $1.3 million “for a full year” if revenues stay the same.
The future if the Rideau Carleton Raceway is somewhat murky as OLG solicits bids from casino operators to construct a new gaming facility in Ottawa. While the racetrack says it is interested in expanding its offerings, OLG officials say the Albion Road facility would be shuttered if a casino is built elsewhere.
RIDEAU CENTRE EXPANSION
The expansion of the downtown shopping centre moved closer to reality as councillors approved the dismantling of the facades along Rideau and Nicholas streets for the building that used to house the Ogilvy department store.
It is set to become part of the Rideau Centre’s $250-million expansion plan.