It isn’t the final roadblock that needs to be cleared, but it’s a big one. Ottawa’s Hard Rock Casino is one step closer to a moving ahead with $318-million expansion after the city’s rural affairs committee gave their stamp of approval to the plan.

Ottawa's Hard Rock Casino.

Ottawa’s Hard Rock Casino expansion would include a nine-story hotel and 1,200-car parking garage. (Source: newswire.ca)

All the Hard Rock needs now to officially proceed with the plan is approval from city council itself. Should they receive it, work will get underway on an expansion that will include a 200-room, nine-story hotel with an attached 1,200-car parking garage, a new theater with 2,500 seats, as well as several new restaurants. The casino will also install 20 new gaming tables, giving them a total of 55.

While they don’t need the city’s blessing  to do so, they’re also planning to add 750 slot machines to the current roster of 1,250.

In exchange for the rezoning approval, the city wants the casino to give something back to the community.

Making Right by Roads

Plans for redevelopment were announced last year when the Seminole Tribe of Florida bought the Hard Rock Casino last year in partnership with Rideau Carleton Raceway Holdings.

The expansion would bring thousands more visitors to the Hard Rock, and that means a lot more wear and tear on local infrastructure. Residents in the Canadian capital have already been complaining about deteriorating road conditions in the area, and such a major expansion would only make things worse.

Those attending the rezoning meeting were mostly in favor of the upgrades, but many urged the committee to hold the Hard Rock responsible for their part in the deteriorating road conditions in the area.

While stopping short promising to take full responsibility for the crumbling streets, it sounds like the Hard Rock is willing to do their part, according to CBC News.

“We’re not blind to the issues that are occurring all across Ottawa, never mind the south end. “It’s not to say that we’re going to take on 100 percent responsibility for all the improvements. We will participate to the extent that Hard Rock is impactful in that area.” – Jack Stirling, Hard Rock Spokesman.

The casino’s level of responsibility for local roads will be determined by an upcoming traffic management study.

One Hurdle To Go

According to figures provided by Hard Rock, Ottawa’s share of Hard Rock casino profits was between $5.5 million and $6 million up until 2018. Once the expansion is complete, that share is expected to double to about $12 million per year.

In addition to the $318 million it would pump in to the local economy, the project would also spawn significant employment in Ottawa. About 3,100 construction jobs would be created by the expansion, in addition to 900 permanent positions.

Assuming the casino  is willing to pitch in for upgrades to the roads, the zoning amendment will be put to a final vote before Ottawa city council on May 9th.