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Councillor Asks for Guarantees from KED Partners

Greater Sudbury’s Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland is unhappy with how limited are the written commitments from the Kingsway Entertainment District’s partners. That is why the city official has filed a motion to the city council to negotiate reciprocal commitments to advance each other’s role and component in the KED project.

The Kingsway Entertainment District plan is to introduce a new hockey arena along with an entertainment centre with a hotel and a casino in the outskirts of Greater Sudbury. The project was first introduced in 2017, but it has faced numerous legal obstacles. This summer the city council has voted for the proceeding of the plan at the KED location.

Assurances Needed to Move Forward

At the September 28 council meeting, Mr. McCausland put forward a motion that if approved would require partners from KED to put pen to paper commitments to the project. However, there was not enough time to pass the motion as the meeting hit the three-hour mark and thus concluded. He was also among the councillors to vote against the extension of the September meeting.

The councillor explained that he wants everybody to have enough time on their hands and know exactly what they will be voting on. His motion will be discussed again at the next city council meeting scheduled for October 12, 2021. The motion states that reciprocal commitments are needed from the partners to prepare for construction at the site and that they must be presented to the council before December 14, 2021.

Mr. McCausland revealed that he has been working on the motion for the last few weeks and it is worded so it cannot impose delays or barriers to the project. He explained that the motion is not a way of delaying the project, but it is rather a case of everyone getting enough information before voting. He also noted that the motion requires staff negotiating with partners on the delivery of reciprocal commitments.

Currently, there are no written agreements between the city and the partners such as Gateway Casinos & Entertainment for KED. Mr. McCausland says that it is not a good idea to rely on verbal agreements when it comes to a multi-million project such as KED. His concern is that the partners could withdraw from the project at any time, while the city would have spent millions on the project.

Groundwork Can Start

At the end of the September council meeting, members voted on whether to proceed with the site preparation of KED. Councillors voted 7 to 6 in favor of the approval, and now site preparation is allowed to begin. The process will be conducted by Bot Engineering & Construction Ltd. and it should start by the end of November this year.

Legal Opposition

While the KED project continues its development, the non-profit Minnow Lake Restoration Group resumes its attempts to slow down the plans for the site. Previously, the organization filed for a judicial review on Sudbury’s city council decision to proceed with KED. The non-profits claim is that in the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers report, information requested by councillors is missing. There the missing piece of information could have had an impact on their final vote.

Source: Clarke, Tyler “McCausland seeks assurances from KED partners in motion to council”., October 5, 2021