Casino News

Despite a Dozen of Appeals, Kingsway Casino Project Set to Proceed

The Kingsway casino project in Sudbury is moving forward and within a few years, the city may have a large gaming and entertainment hub that would attract thousands of visitors. Despite the dozen of appeals filed against the planning for the Kingsway Entertainment District, the ambitious project is set to proceed, according to Ian Wood, the city’s director of economic development.

On Tuesday, Wood told the Greater Sudbury City Council that plans are moving ahead and the appeals against the casino and arena are not slowing the progress on the project. In his presentation, he cited a total of 12 appeals that have been filed with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, a newly established institution that recently replaced the Ontario Municipal Board. Earlier this week, city spokesperson Shannon Dowling talked about the challenges the casino is facing right now. Most of the appeals are by the Sudbury Business Improvement Area (BIA) and local businessman Tom Fortin, a who is head of a casino-opposition group called Casino Free Sudbury.

According to her, Tom Fortin, Sudbury Downtown BIA and local activist John Lindsay have filed three appeals for the parking lot rezoning, while there are three more appeals against the casino rezoning. They have been filed by Fortin, the Sudbury BIA and religious leader Christopher Duncanson-Hales. Another three appeals against the casino official plan amendment have been received by the same people. The city has also forwarded three appeals against the rezoning that allows the development of a concert arena and they have been filed by Fortin, the BIA, and yet another local activist, Steve May.

The Kingsway Entertainment District would be a large complex that would include an 11.96-hectare arena/events centre, a parking lot, and a casino owned and operated by Gateway Casinos and Entertainment, which would be constructed on approximately 6.96 hectares of land. Later, a hotel tower would be added, as well as retail outlets. According to the plans, revealed by Gateway, the new casino should replace the old slots at the Sudbury Downs racetrack, which currently offers 400 gaming machines. The new site is expected to expand the gaming options by introducing table games and more slot machines.

When Could Work on The Kingsway Casino Project Begin?

It is still unclear when Sudbury, the largest city in Northern Ontario, would have its new gaming and entertainment centre. The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) received the whole appeals package on Monday, the tribunal’s spokesperson Becky Fong said, adding that experts are still processing all the documents. According to James McKenzie, the associate chair of the LPAT, it could take 10 to 12 months until a resolution is issued.

During the council meeting Catherine Matheson, the city’s general manager of community development, said that within 10 days, the LPAT should determine whether to reject the appeals or to see them. If they are rejected, the city would be able to proceed with issuing additional permits and other documentation required for the development and construction of the Kingsway Entertainment District. If the tribunal decides to review them, this process may slow down the design and construction work on the $60-million casino.

In the meantime, Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan expressed his concerns about the transparency of Tom Fortin’s campaign against the casino. He questioned the source of funds used for Fortin’s appeals on social media. The businessman-activist claims that hundreds of local businesses have contributed to his cause and that his group Casino Free Sudbury has raised more than $225,000. Kirwan, however, says that the crowdfunding campaign has managed to raise only $16,000. He also claims that the four appeals filed by Fortin and the four appeals filed by Downtown BIA are being represented by the same lawyer, Gordon Petch.

The fact that one lawyer is representing all 8 appeals indicates that the campaign against the casino and the arena is actually funded by one business, Kirwan says. This is a business or an individual who is paying Gordon Petch huge amounts of money in order to slow down the project, the councillor believes.