‘Endless economic development’: Belleville celebrates benefits of nearly $3.5 million in OLG funding

Belleville councillors and OLG officials gathered at City Hall on Wednesday, March 20. – Submitted photo

On Wednesday, March 20, Belleville City Hall hosted a special event to express gratitude for the substantial impact of the Municipal Contribution Agreement with Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) on the local community over the past year.

The Municipal Contribution Agreement determines OLG payments, ensuring that municipalities receive funds for hosting gaming facilities. These funds, based on a graduated scale of gaming revenue consistent across Ontario sites, are then allocated by Belleville City Council to various projects annually. In Fiscal 2023 (April 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023), Belleville received a total of $3,462,716 through this agreement.

“We are very fortunate and grateful to have a community partner like OLG in Belleville,” said Mayor Neil Ellis. “They have provided our city with endless economic development, tourism, and growth opportunities through their establishment and the Municipal Funding Agreement. I am thrilled that the 2023 funds have been able to support so many important organizations in our community, and I look forward to what the year ahead will bring for our city.”

Over the last year, this funding facilitated several infrastructure investments that would have otherwise been unattainable. Projects such as the Sidney and College Street intersection widening project, McWilliams Bridge replacement design, College Street East sidewalk construction and Mary-Ann Sills Field #2 turf replacement were made possible by these funds.

A substantial portion of the funds also contributed to the city’s grant program, supporting over 20 organizations and initiatives in 2023. Among the beneficiaries were the Eastminster United Church Open Door Café, Alzheimer Society of Hastings-Prince Edward, Community Development Council of Quinte, Continuing on in Education, Youth Habilitation Quinte Inc., Gleaners Food Bank and the Belleville Lions’ Club.

During the event, Rick Hammond, volunteer cook for Bridge Street United Church, highlighted the impact of OLG funding on their meal program, which provides free daily lunches and frozen meals to residents.

“OLG is proud to be a vital part of the City of Belleville,” said Kathleen Devine, OLG’s senior municipal relations manager. “Each year, 100 per cent of OLG profits are reinvested in Ontario to support provincial priorities. From critical infrastructure to important local programs, to community festivals, OLG’s profits are hard at work in Belleville and all across our province to build stronger communities. When you play at an Ontario casino, like Shorelines Casino Belleville, you play for Ontario.”

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