Casino News

COVID-19 Paralyzes LPAT amid Kingsway Ent. District Appeals Review

Kingsway Entertainment District is the project that once again faces a delay in its schedule, this time as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak across the Canadian provinces and especially in Ontario. The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal was one of the organizations that put an end to its operation, at least for the foreseeable future, as its members practice social distancing in an attempt to flatten the curve.

Projections for the controversial project are that it would not be able to see a conclusion within this year, as the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal ceased its regular operation and review of the appeals filed. The Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act is the special order that would affect its operation going forward now that it was introduced this week.

Government Issues Emergency Order

Ontario’s government issued the special order directly affecting the day-to-day operation of the tribunal that was created in order to replace the Ontario Municipal Board back in the spring of 2017. One of the most important changes coming as a result of this new tribunal was that the Board no longer had the power to substitute its decision for decisions made by a given municipality.

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal is now unable to schedule hearing events for the foreseeable future. This applies to both in-person and teleconference congregations that could propel forward its work on the appeals review process. It could be recalled that May 5 was supposed to see a long-anticipated hearing on the Kingsway Entertainment District subject, a topic that has faced the opposition of local organizations.

Earlier this month, John Norris, the case manager for the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal still reviewing appeals against the casino complex, received a letter seeking yet another delay in the process. It amounted to 90 days, as one of the main opponents of the project, Tom Fortin needed more time for the review of documents related to the entertainment zone.

LPAT Halts Review Proces

Gordon Petch, the lawyer representing Mr. Fortin pointed out that the City of Sudbury has delayed the sending of information on the subject and he would need more time ahead of the LPAT hearing this spring. The delay they sought amounted to 90 days but now it might take even longer.

The order issued by the government points out that the hearings would be postponed until after June 30 or when the nationwide lockdown is lifted. Greater Sudbury residents have been reminded that now is not the time for new appeals, as the tribunal is still going through the already filed one. The CA$100-million entertainment district featuring a casino complex has stirred the pot for years now, but it appears that the solution to this situation would not be found anytime soon.

According to Mr. Fortin’s lawyer, the Superior Court should issue its ruling and only then the LPAT would be able to come up with a resolution that makes sense. This could further delay the process until the end of 2020. Along with the casino opponents, some people want to see a relocation of KED to the downtown area of the city. For the time being, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment remains firm in its position to develop in the region.