The dispute around Kingsway Entertainment District and its future continues to unravel. Ward 3 Councillor Gerry Montpellier explained that media outlets have misinterpreted one of his latest Facebook posts and that he was offered a bribe to support the KED project. However, he has now clarified that this was not the case and his words were misunderstood.
Recently city council announced its decision to proceed with the KED site as the location for the new event center which will feature a casino, a hotel, and an arena. However, a portion of the public and several councilors believe that the site will not be optimal for the new facility and have opted for the revamping of the existing downtown arena on Elgin Street.
In a recent statement, Mr. Montpellier explained that one of his recent posts on Facebook on why he did not vote on the recent council meeting and that this was the reason for the confusion. In the said post, he reveals that two representatives who worked for Dario Zulich, the man who proposed the KED site, and Gateway Casinos & Entertainment approached him in order to explain the pros of the KED location.
The councilor said that he did not vote in the last meeting since he owns a company in that sector that would benefit from the development of KED. He believes that he should not vote for the site as it could create a potential conflict of interest. Mr. Montpellier also said that he does not think that the gentlemen who approached him were offering him a bribe but were rather presenting facts.
After the emerging reports of potential bribery, the Mayor of Greater Sudbury, Brian Bigger said that those allegations were serious. He also thinks that the councilor should contact the police authorities to investigate the matter. In the recent interview, the councilor responded that he is open to any kind of investigation.
Latest Input on KED
At the beginning of September, Sudbury city councilors expressed their current views on the KED project. Mr. Montpellier thinks that the KED project should be deferred to this or the next council when all the facts are presented and discussed. Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini believes that the plan should be put on hold until the unprecedented situation has completely passed and the city should prioritize smaller projects as the economic situation now is extremely unstable.
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 also said that by selecting the location the city would make a huge mistake. Next month, the council will be briefed again on the project and discuss some topics such as scheduling.
Online Petition Against
At the end of August, a prominent opponent of the KED site Patrick Crowe launched an online petition in order to collect votes against the location and take the matter to a referendum. His issue with the location is that it would be hard to access for residents that do not own a car, and it would be a non-sustainable business in the outskirts of the city. The petition gathered around 2,300 signatures.
Source: “No Kingsway Entertainment District bribes, says Sudbury councilor”, CBC, September 13, 2021