Kingsway Entertainment District’s project continues to be a hot topic for discussions in Greater Sudbury. Last week council members were asked to share their latest thoughts on the project and what their next steps for the plan would be, as the proposed new event centre project at the location will now proceed. The grand opening is expected sometime in 2024.
The City council has opted for the KED site back in 2017, but since then the project has faced numerous legal challenges and delays. Some locals have also voiced their preferences to see the downtown arena renovated instead of building one on the outskirts of the city, which will make it harder to access by everyone. To this day, discussions for the plan are still ongoing.
Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti expressed his concerns about the KED location as the new arena would be in the near proximity of the Sudbury Landfill Site. He even claimed that proceeding with the location would be the greatest mistake that the city has ever done. Next month, the council will be briefed again on the project and discuss some topics such as scheduling.
Mr. Signoretti also said that for him the next step would be for the City of Greater Sudbury to share more info on the project with both council and the public. He explained that he does not support the last report by PricewaterhouseCoopers as it did not answer all of the councillors’ questions, and thus they do not have enough data to make an informed decision on the subject.
Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini believes that the KED plan should be put on hold until the unprecedented situation has completely passed. He thinks the city should prioritize smaller projects as the economic situation now is highly volatile. Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier wants to see the KED project deferred to this or the next council when all the facts are evident.
Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland’s stance is to reconsider the KED site, as he also believes that the location is a great mistake. Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan, Ward 7 Coun. Mike Jakubo, Ward 8 Coun. Al Sizer, Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc, and Ward 12 Coun. Joscelyne Landry-Altmann believe that the project should proceed forward. And the rest of the members did not have a comment.
Strong Opposition and Legal Challenges
At the end of August, the anti-KED online petition launched by Patrick Crowe gathered even more momentum as over 2,300 locals have signed it. Mr. Crowe and some locals believe that the proposed KED location for the new centre would be hard to access for most residents, and non-sustainable. The anti-petition has been countered by one in support of the chosen location, however, the latter has gathered only 120 signatures.
In addition to that, the new arena hall has faced yet another legal obstacle, as the non-profit Minnow Lake Restoration Group is now requesting Ontario’s divisional court for a judicial court review. Lawyer of the organization, Eric Gillespie insisted that the city council has missed on some major details when discussing the project, and if the additional info is provided, the final vote might be different.
Source: Clarke, Tyler “Where do they stand? City councillors share their latest takes on the KED”, Sudbury.com, September 2, 2021