Gateway’s controversial casino expansion proposal heads for a vote by city councilors, who will be able to cast their vote in support for or against Kingsway Entertainment District’s final design. Some Sudbury residents mounted opposition to the proposed construction of an entertainment complex on the Kingsway. On Sunday afternoon, a group of 50 people decided to embark on a four-kilometer walk along the Kingsway. The march aimed at manifesting their stance that the presence of a full-fledged gaming center will downgrade the city’s walkability, which includes the infrastructure and access to green spaces.
The Sunday walk was organized by local business owner and vice-chair of the city’s Committee for Sustainable Planning and Development Andre Dumais. Mr. Dumais explained that city officials have promised to turn Sudbury into a pedestrian-friendly city, but they quickly forgot their promise, facing the splendid perspective of overflowing coffers.
The group of people was escorted by the local police during the small tour from the Costco parking lot on the Kingsway to the place where the city’s proposed entertainment complex is planned to be located. According to the initiator of the small march, the idea behind the walk is to remind city officials of their promise to the locals. Among the people, who joined the massive Sunday walk was Kyle Tarlton. He is a resident of Sudbury and a father of a 11-month-old son. Mr. Tarlton commented that this is not the best route that one can choose for a Sunday walk with their little ones.
The footprint of the project does not match the city’s previously promised commitment to make this area more walkable, opponents have been arguing. According to some locals, Sudbury’s gentrification has remained in the background and no efforts are being undertaken to improve the city’s walkability and the pedestrians-only walkways. Experts are concerned that this has already taken its toll on residents’ health as their lifestyle is getting more sedentary with every passing day.
The Story Behind Greater Sudbury’s Casino Project
In December 2016, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) selected British Columbia-based Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Ltd. (“Gateway”) to assume the control over the day-to-day operations of OLG’s North and Southwest Gaming Bundles. Earlier this year, Gateway inked a 20-year deal with the OLG. Under the terms and conditions of the agreement between the two parties, Gateway is now responsible for upgrading and modernizing OLG’s outworn gambling properties.
Shortly after the deal was closed, Gateway officials announced plans to invest C$60 million in a new Greater Sudbury Casino, promising to bring additional wealth into the local economy. The announcement stirred the pot as proponents and opponents of the casino have locked horns in a scaling debate, discussing the impact of the upcoming opening of the gaming center.