The fate of the Kingsway Entertainment District project is still unknown, with discussions about the future of the proposed Greater Sudbury casino remaining among the most-discussed topics in the region in the light of upcoming October municipal elections.
As recently found by Casino Reports, the casino project has been in the center of ongoing discussions, in spite of the fact that the new city arena project has already been approved by the City Council. Currently, the province’s Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT) is reviewing the decision under which the project has been greenlighted.
The Greater Sudbury casino expansion, however, faced fierce opposition, with the critics of the project arguing that the decision-making process has been flawed. Anti-project campaigners also said that not enough public consultation on the matter was held so far. With all the hurdles on the way, the project may not be officially rolled out by the first six months of 2019.
The investors claim that the money which Gateway Casinos plan to invest in Sudbury will transform the city, and will give both both the Kingsway Entertainment District and the downtown the chance to take advantage of the benefits. What is more, the current area situated on Elgin Street could host three large projects, including a convention and performance centre, a library and Sudbury’s Art Gallery.
Greater Sudbury Casino Got City Council’s Approval in 2017
The integrated site plan for the new city arena was approved by the City of Greater Sudbury in 2017, with a main arena, enlarged casino, hotel and restaurant development included in the project.
The first phase of the Kingsway Entertainment District project includes the construction of an arena and event center which is to be owned by the City of Greater Sudbury, a casino and gaming complex that is to be owned and operated by the Canadian gambling company Gateway Casinos and Entertainment, as well as a hotel, a number of restaurants and an outdoor festival square.
As Casino Reports has already revealed, the complex is set to be open in April 2020.
Thanks to the approval city staff was given the chance to rezone the Kingsway site and work on a financial plan to move forward with the design of the project within the first four months of 2018. The investment that is to be made by the city in the new arena, as well as in roads and other infrastructure is expected to amount to about CA$100 million. Gateway Casinos, on the other hand, has invested approximately CA$60 million in the project.
Still, the casino project for the Kingsway Entertainment District will have to receive the court’s permission, regardless of the fact that it has already gotten the approval of Sudbury City Council, which sticks to its decision. As expected, the resolution of the court has to put an end to the ongoing battle between the proponents and the opponents of casino expansion in the area.
City Council Backs Casino Expansion Despite Criticism
Despite the fact that the project has been criticized by some opponents of the casino expansion, both the City Council and Gateway Casinos, which is to operate the proposed gambling venue, have earlier revealed that they will stick to the plan.
Last month, Gateway Casinos explained that it remains committed to Sudbury Kingsway site, regardless of the fact that the project has still been facing increased criticism. In the mid-August, the senior vice president and managing director of the Ontario-based operations of Gateway Casinos – Keith Andrews – said that the gambling operator still plans to roll the dice on its Greater Sudbury casino project. Mr. Andrews explained that the casino would undoubtedly be beneficial for the local economy, as it would create up to 350 new jobs and would bring about CA$60 million to the local economy.
He further shared that according to Gateway Casinos, the Kingsway Entertainment District is ready to welcome the site preparation, and the gambling company remains firmly convinced that the site best matches the vision shared by the mayor and the council.
As mentioned above, the proposed Kingsway Entertainment District project fuelled fierce discussions between opponents and supporters of the casino expansion. The City Council has been urged to stop the project spending until the appeals of the casino opponents’ are heard. The City Council, however, decided to ignore these calls and moved forward, as according to mayor Brian Bigger all necessary steps have been taken so far.
At its meeting in mid-September, the Sudbury City Council backed its 2017 decision to allow the construction of a new casino in the Kingsway Entertainment District. Despite the fact that councilor Montpellier described the project as a conflict of interest, the City Council voted 11 to 1 not to discuss the casino expansion, backing its precious decision in favor of the Greater Sudbury casino with 10 to 2 votes.