Greater Sudbury has been taken over the conversation about Kingsway Entertainment District for quite a while now, with more details emerging over the past few weeks. Amid local businessman Tom Fortin’s legal battle against officials’ prejudice, Jeff MacIntyre, former Chair of the Downtown Business Improvement Area Association, alleged that BIA’s participation in the appeals led to threats from local Chief Analytics Officer’s.
The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal replacing Ontario Municipal Board gave the community a chance to file appeals against Kingsway Entertainment District and guarantee them a quick review. In reality, the tribunal ended up slowing down at the beginning of this year, only to announce all appeals hearing would be postponed to May 5, 2020. Mr. MacIntyre recently alleged that in 2018, CAO Ed Archer advised him to put an end to BIA’s appeals action.
City CAO Threatened BIA
Tom Fortin, local businessman and avid opponent of the casino part of KED filed a submission to Ontario Supreme Court accusing local officials of showing bias when greenlighting some bylaws related to a parking lot and a casino complex. Along with these allegations, the former Chair of Downtown BIA revealed a particular conversation he had with Mr. Archer in February 2018.
Mr. MacIntyre alleged that the city CAO pointed out that the BIA’s continuous support of and participation in the appeal process could result in the association’s budget rejection or even Mr. MacIntyre’s removal as Chair. The City is yet to respond to the allegations of Mr. Fortin in court, eyeing an application dismissal down the road. The affidavit filed provided information aplenty, also featuring allegations related to Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan.
Back in 2017, the City Council gave its approval to a series of bylaws allowing the entertainment zone to see the construction of an events venue and a parking lot, but word had it that the Downtown Business Improvement Area Association was about to stand against the aforementioned approvals. This triggered Coun. Kirwan’s quick reaction, supposedly stating that any opposition of the bylaws approval expressed by the BIA would result in a backlash.
More Threats in 2017
As Mr. MacIntyre made it clear in the affidavit, the comment was triggered by a rumor and no official announcement by the downtown business association. On multiple occasions following this conversation on Facebook Messenger and on the phone, Coun. Kirwan was public in his agenda against the BIA, as its former Chair reports.
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This spring saw pressure from Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti for a City Council vote on dissolving the association, should it continue siding with Mr. Fortin. As a result of that, the BIA removed its name from the Ontario Superior Court submission. Mr. Fortin’s Casino-Free Sudbury organization has also succeeded in stirring the pot. In his 1,500-page file, Bryston’s on the Park, Gateway Casinos’ caterer of choice, revealed the casino operator also threatened it.
Gateway Casinos posed an ultimatum, hinting on cutting all ties for future partnership, should the catering company continue supporting Casino-Free Sudbury. This did not impress Bryston’s on the Park. Meanwhile, the casino operator is determined to build Starlight Casino Sudbury despite the challenges and delays KED faces.