Anti-casino campaigners have obtained further information to back up their stance against the Kingsway Entertainment District centre that is to be erected in the Kingsway district, in Greater Sudbury, north-eastern Ontario.
This is a massive project which entails the building of a huge event centre, comprising an arena, a festival square, and a hotel complex along with a casino. It is precisely this gambling venue the campaigners from Casino Free Sudbury are protesting against. The event centre in question is planned for the Kingsway area in the eastern part of the city, which is presently undeveloped.
The ambitious project has already been approved by Sudbury’s City Council but the events centre’s property still needs to be rezoned before construction commences. Supporters of the event centre have enumerated several positives the project will bring to the area. They argue the event centre will give the local economy a boost while the arena the complex will contain is expected to attract the interest on behalf of locals and tourists alike. In addition, the complex is to provide over 250 job positions to the local citizens. As many as 160 people have already been hired to work on the project.
However, not everyone supports the Kingsway Entertainment District centre. It is the casino that opponents have problems with. The anti-casino campaigners are led by Tom Fortin who is in charge of the Casino Free Sudbury group. The group commissioned a report by third-party consultant company urbanMetrics, which has previous experience in the fields of municipal development and casino gambling.
There are Various Economic Drawbacks to the Ambitious Project
The report’s findings were published yesterday and one of the main points had to do with where the gambling venue would generate its revenue from. Kingsway is home to a remote community so this begs the question where the casino would draw its revenue from. Gambling establishments throughout southern Ontario are frequented by millions of people from the surrounding communities. Meanwhile, Kingsway is a remote area and may struggle to attract customers to its casino.
The leader of the Casino Free Group, Mr. Fortin, claims the urbanMetrics report indicates the project is doomed to face a number of economic and financial setbacks. Mr. Fortin sees no benefit in terms of tax revenues judging by the results of the report he commissioned. According to the anti-casino campaigners, building the casino might cause local businesses to struggle. It may also lead to a lower tax base.
Before the report was officially released, it was sent to the members of Sudbury’s City Council. Some city councillors like Robert Kirwan expressed suspicions the results of the report had been distorted. Mr. Kirwan himself sees it more as an “opinion piece” and believes this is natural considering that urbanMetrics is a company that deals with downtown development.
The rezoning of the Kingsway Entertainment District is to take place between March 26 and March 28. Mr. Fortin and his supporters intend to be on both meetings where they would present the findings of the report they commissioned. The decisions from both meetings will be discussed by Sudbury’s City Council on April 20, 2018.
If the City Council approves of the rezoning, the Casino Free Sudbury group plans on appealing their decision to the Ontario Municipal Board. The results of the impact report are to be used as evidence if necessary, Mr. Fortin explained.