The future of the Kingsway Entertainment District still remains as one of the hottest topics in Greater Sudbury, with the municipal elections being scheduled for October 22nd.
The proposed casino project has been the centerpiece of much debate in the region, despite the plans for a new CA$100-million arena has already received the approval of the City Council. The new city’s arena is set to be constructed alongside casino and hotel complex, on land owned by Dario Zulich, a local developer. Despite the fact that Mr. Zulich has previously explained that the project is valuable for the region, the decisions which greenlighted the project are currently being reviewed by the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT) of the province.
The opponents of the Greater Sudbury casino expansion argued that there were flaws in the decision process, and not enough public consultation was done. With the stiff opposition in mind, the final decision on whether or not the zoning applications for the site need to be reconsidered, may not be unveiled until the spring or summer of 2019.
For the time being, the talks between city’s officials and the three partners in the project – Gateway Casinos, the Hilton hotel chain and the team of Mr. Zulich – regarding splitting the CA$8.5-million cost of grading the land for the project construction are still ongoing.
Downtown Sudbury Is Also Proposed as Preferred Location of the Arena
The proposed Kingsway Entertainment District project has fuelled fierce discussions between supporters and opponents of the casino expansion. Recently, Mark Signoretti and Gerry Montpellier, local councilors, have called on the City Council to cease all spending on the project until the appeals of the casino opponents’ are heard.
Still, the City Council decided to move forward despite the fact that the project is being appealed. According to mayor Brian Bigger, all necessary steps have been taken throughout the process. He was among the ones who originally voted for downtown as the preferred location for the new city arena to be built, with the place also being among the top recommendations in a consultant’s report. However, eventually, the Kingsway was chosen instead.
Currently, some residents are wondering if the location talks could be brought back to where it all started. Others have shared that they prefer the Kingsway site for the construction, as the downtown core is not the right place for a casino or an arena.
As revealed by Casino Reports, the Sudbury City Council voted 11-1 not to bring the project to further discussions, after councilor Montpellier’s formal question. An obligatory public meeting, which is called a Case Management Conference, is to be held on November 6th by the LPAT as the next step in the ongoing debate on the development of the Kingsway Entertainment District in Greater Sudbury.