On Monday this week, the first town hall meeting related to the construction of the highly-controversial premier casino and entertainment property in Greater Sudbury took place. The planning committee had the chance to hear people’s opinion on the matter and discuss their concerns about the possible drawbacks of hosting a casino on the Kingsway and the new location of the city arena.
Canada’s biggest private casino operator Gateway Casinos & Entertainment is planning to build a full-fledged casino on the Kingsway. The company behind the proposal put a C$60 million price tag to that project. The first phase of the Kingsway Entertainment District consists of a new public arena, a gambling and a hotel complex, several classy restaurants and an outdoor Festival Square. However, the plan should be approved by the planning committee before it can be moved forward.
The casino plan stirred up the hornet’s nest as casino opponents argued that the presence of a casino in Sudbury might hide a vital threat to the community and the local economy. Activists and business owners explained that the community has never been consulted on the proposal and people did not have the opportunity to have their say on the Kingsway Entertainment District.
Casino naysayers pointed out that a casino on the Kingsway will not only provoke gambling problems, but it will also stimulate people to spend their money in the casino, instead of in the local amenities. Apart from that, casino opponents believe that the gambling complex will not foster the tourism sector as Sudbury is not a tourist attraction, but a family city.
In addition to that, the casino opponents believe that to build a community arena just next to a gambling center is not the most appropriate decision. Last but not least, casino opponents negative environmental impacts of casino gambling, including traffic jams, parking difficulty, and others.
First Public Hearing Gathers Feedback from the Public
As a result, the anti-casino movement asked Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) to hold a series of town hall meetings and allow people to express their opinion on the matter. Yesterday, the first of two public hearings regarding the rezoning applications for the arena and casino took place.
Many people took the opportunity to voice their concerns regarding the presence of a casino on the Kingsway and the new location of the city arena. Members of the planning committee were also at hand to listen to the people’s stance on the matter and discuss the different options.
City planner Alex Singbush explained that there will be one more public hearing on the project. In addition to that, Sudburians will have the opportunity to vote on whether to approve the rezoning application related to the arena and the casino at a separate hearing in the coming months. Singbush made it clear that the arena received all the needed approvals from the environmental agencies. According to Singbush, the second public hearing will be centered around Gateway’s casino proposal.