The debate regarding the new provincial planning rules could lead to an actual decision on the controversial Sudbury arena and casino in 2019.
The proceeding which already started at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) as part of the debate on the construction of the new Kingsway Entertainment District project resulted in some questions about a new rule under which only the tribunal adjudicators are able to call and examine witnesses. Now, a divisional court has been asked to review the procedure, which basically means that the decision on the issue will be delayed, as LPAT would not be able to schedule other hearings during the court’s review.
As Casino Reports has already revealed, a decision on the new casino and arena project in Greater Sudbury was supposed to be reached before a deadline in June 2018 under the new law of Ontario, but LPAT has delayed the final decision.
Yesterday, the first meeting between the parties before a third-party panel was held, with both the major proponents and opponents of the project being present. All five groups which have protested against the Sudbury casino and arena took part in the hearing.
Decision on Sudbury Casino and Arena Expected in 2019
The full first day of the proceedings was spent in long disputes over procedural questions related to the issue. Now, one of the main questions which is expected to get an answer is whether the tribunal has the right to make a ruling if the rules were followed by the City Council, considering the fact that the Council gave the green light to the Kingsway Entertainment District.
Despite the fact that the LPAT took over the Ontario Municipal Board, which does not exist anymore, the process at the Tribunal is a bit different as the body is required to push the opposing parties to mediation. However unlikely it may seem for a compromise to be found, if the parties go ahead with mediation, the final decision of the LPAT could be delayed even more than in case that it follows the standard procedure.
As already reported, the LPAT is to review the consistency of the City Council’s decision but it would not be the one to make the final decision on the Sudbury casino and arena project. So, if the Tribunal dismisses the appeals made by the five anti-casino groups, the decision of the City Council will be legitimate and the construction works would be allowed to proceed as planned. On the other hand, if the Tribunal says yes to the appeals, the issue will be once again brought to the City Council.
The preliminary hearing has already been held but the debate around the new provincial planning could postpone the final decision even more. In any case, it is expected to be made sometime in 2019.