Torontonians are getting a chance to have their say on whether the city should roll the dice on a casino.

Public consultations begin Wednesday with the first of five community discussions about the contentious proposal.

People are invited to attend one of the sessions to provide feedback and learn more about the proposal, as the city tries to figure out whether Torontonians want a gaming complex within city limits.

City officials also want to hear people’s opinions on possible locations for a casino and what the public would like council members to consider when a vote finally takes places at city hall.

Locations that are currently being considered are Exhibition Place, the Port Lands, a downtown site and Woodbine Racetrack.

The feedback will be provided in a report to Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee, which will make a recommendation on the casino question in March.

City council will then hold a final vote.

Here is the schedule for the public consultation sessions:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 9: City hall rotunda (110 Queen St. W.), 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, Jan. 12: North York Memorial Hall (5110 Yonge St., lower level), 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Monday, Jan. 14: Etobicoke Olympium gymnasium (590 Rathburn Rd.), 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 17: Scarborough Civic Centre rotunda (150 Borough Dr.), 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, Jan. 19: Bram & Bluma Appel Salon at Reference Library (789 Yonge St.), 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Discussions during the open-house style sessions will focus on three themes: health and social, revenue finance and economic development, and planning and study.

People can drop in at any time during the three-hour sessions and stay as long as they want. There are no formal presentations or scheduled activities.

Staff will be on hand to answer questions.

For those who can’t make it to one of the sessions or don’t want to attend one, there are other ways to sound off on the matter.

People can fill out an online feedback form via the city’s website or submit a form by mail by Jan. 25, or speak at the executive committee meeting in March.

As the public gets its chance to weigh in, some city councillors have been very clear on where they stand on the issue.

Coun. Adam Vaughan doesn't want a casino in downtown Toronto, which falls within his ward of Trinity-Spadina.

“The downtown core is a vibrant, busy place and if you try to shoehorn a casino in you’re going to destroy parts of it,” Vaughan told C24 reporter Nathan Downer on Wednesday.

A casino in downtown Toronto would create traffic and parking chaos, hurt small businesses, destroy property values and discourage people from living in the city’s core, Vaughan said.

Vaughan also doesn't think a casino would generate the amount of revenue that proponents claim it would.

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