This week, Lawyer Eric Gillespie warned Greater Sudbury that the decision to proceed with Kingsway Entertainment District could prove to be costly down the road. The lawyer who represents the Minnow Lake Restoration Group said that the city is advancing with the project at their own risk and potential peril, as legal action against the site continues.
Mr. Gillespie’s warning comes, right after the city council voted 7 to 6 in favor of the approval of site preparation of the KED location. The outskirts site will feature a new hockey arena as well as a hotel and a casino property by Gateway Casinos & Entertainment. Since the announcement, of the project, it has faced many legal challenges and it now has one more on its way.
At Their Own Risk
Mr. Gillespie who represents Minnow Lake Restoration Group in their request for judicial review for Sudbury’s handling of the KED project, says that the city’s proceeding with the plan is at their own risk. In the judicial review, the organization’s argument is that Mayor Brian Bigger, as well as the council, made numerous mistakes in law and left some inquiries unanswered.
According to estimations, KED would cost CA$9.73 million, out of which CA$5.6 million will be committed from the city. Gateway Casinos & Entertainment will spend around CA$2.2 million, and the hotel operator portion is around CA$530,000. However, if the judicial review of the decision is successful then the July 14 vote to proceed with the project would be null and void, thus stopping the development.
During last week’s city council meeting, councillors vote 7-6 to begin work preparation at the KED location. Mr. Gillespie is convinced that the city officials are ignoring the fiduciary duty they have vouched to uphold. According to the 2001 Municipal Act, councillors must behave in the interest of Greater Sudbury’s finances and wellbeing.
The city’s solicitor Kelly Gravelle revealed that so far less than CA$5,000 has been spent on the Minnow Lake Restoration Group file. However, the lawyer of the non-profit organization claims that there is much more at risk with the project. In Mr. Gillespie’s words, millions of taxpayers’ money will be at stake if the city proceeds with the project.
Demanding More Assurances
During the last week’s council meeting, Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland introduced a motion, which will require KED partners to provide written commitments for the development of KED. Mr. McCausland’s issue is that with no written assurances, partners from the projects could walk away at any time, thus costing the city tons of funds. The motion was not decided at the meeting, and it will now extend to the next one in October.
Besides, the non-profit organization, KED has plenty of other opponents including a big portion of locals. Over 2,300 residents have signed Patrick Crowe’s online petition, to bring the matter to a referendum vote with the next municipal elections. Mr. Crowe and some of the public are not content with the outskirts arena and claim that its location would be harder to access and non-sustainable.
Source: Clarke, Tyler “KED a financial risk as legal action looms, lawyer warns”, Sudbury.com, October 6, 2021