The silence was finally broken in Wasaga Beach, as former Mayor Brian Smith, spoke on the changes to the Downtown master plan and the possibility of the new Gateway Casino located in the Town’s west end.

Smith spoke to business owners and residents at a special meeting hosted by The Wasaga Business Association on Friday afternoon.

Developers with interest in the Wasaga's Downtown master plan encouraged the public to get involved.

“We need to get away from the negativity on social media,” said Stonebridge President Mark Crowe, “we need to move forward with a progressive cohesive plan for the beachfront.”

The business association signed up new members and launched a petition demanding that the town engages the public and locate the casino where it has the most significant economic benefit to Wasaga Beach.

According to the Wasaga's CAO, George Vadeboncoeur, the process of locating the casino started seven years ago.

“Council has identified five sites and Gateway is free to select any of those five sites.”

While town officials stick to their version of the process, the debate rages on about how much influence the municipality can have at this late stage.

The mayor remains confident that the appropriate processes are followed.

“Everyone is allowed an opinion although council is not going to be pressured by a small group of self-serving individuals,” said Wasaga Beach Mayor Nina Bifolchi.

According to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, it’s up to Gateway to develop the best possible business plan for the site that they choose, and then the government has to sign off on that plan.