Last week Ward 5 councillor of Greater Sudbury, Robert Kirwan released new information to the public on the matter of the circulating online petition asking for a binding referendum on the proposed arena centre. This is due to the fact that the city council has already had its final say on the project and the matter will not be included as a referendum.
The online petition is asking for a referendum as part of the 2022 municipal elections to inquire about the locals’ opinions on the newly proposed event centre. The topic of the referendum would have been to see if locals prefer the construction of a brand-new one event centre at the Kingsway Entertainment District or to revamp the existing arena.
Councillor Kirwan quickly assured that there is no chance of the petition being put to a referendum vote. He explained that first of all a referendum is conducted only when the council is looking for help in a major decision. And in this case, the officials have already made their minds and have opted for the KED location for the new arena.
On July 14, 2021, the council gave greenlighted for Ian Wood, the executive director of Communications, Strategic Initiatives, and Citizen Service, to work with Gateway Casinos, the Hotel Group, and the land developer. This was in order to ensure that the new KED arena will be ready to use by the end of the 2024 summer. Preparations at the site should commence before the end of the current year.
Mr. Kirwan stated that in his opinion after the council has already made its decision on the project to move forward there would not be the desire to entertain the notion of a referendum. He also explained that if the council has opted for a referendum they would not have needed a petition to do that. Any council member could have put a motion for a referendum in the last four years of discussions.
However, no council member has presented such a motion to discuss the matter at a referendum, and if one was to be held it would have been before the final decision. Mr. Kirwan finished by saying that due to the mentioned reasons there is little to no chance for the petition to reach a referendum, or to be backed by the city council.
The virtual petition for the future of the new entertainment arena was launched by Patrick Crowe, who has been a major opponent of the project. The petition was aimed toward becoming a part of a referendum in 2022, with the municipal elections. Over 700 locals have already participated in the online petition and have backed the idea of renovating the downtown Sudbury Community Arena.
Previously, in June Mayor of Greater Sudbury Brian Bigger provided a positive update on the new arena. He announced that the council’s decision to launch the arena in the Kingsway Entertainment District is official and that preparations have begun. The mayor explained that councilors have not opposed the vote from 2017 and now executive director of strategic initiatives, communications, and citizen services, Ian Wood can lay the foundations with the partners.
Source: Kirwan, Robert “’No chance’ KED referendum will happen: Kirwan”, Sault This Week, July 30, 2021