Wendy Watson, a spokesperson for Greater Sudbury Utilities has recently addressed the claims that the City of Greater Sudbury has been hiding CA$14 million in costs for the Kingsway Entertainment District. The allegations appeared on Facebook and a website named Sudbury Questions last week, however, she categorically dismissed the rumors and claims.
The Kingsway Entertainment District project has been a hot topic of discussion for the city, as ever since the approval of the centre, it has been surrounded by controversy or legal challenges. After a vote by the city council in the summer, the project will be constructed in the outskirts of the city and will feature a hockey arena, a casino, and a hotel.
” Patently Incorrect”
Ms. Watson said that the hiding of the KED costs allegations is patently incorrect and that the website was alleging accusations of corruption which are quite serious. According to the Sudbury Questions website, the city has hidden approximately CA$14 million of capital expenditures in relation to KED in the Greater Sudbury Hydro Inc. budget.
Also, according to the website, Greater Sudbury Hydro Inc. wanted to increase customer billing rates. The CA$14 million expenditure is an addition to the priorly revealed expenses for the entertainment centre. Also, the website claims that Greater Sudbury Utilities applied to the Ontario Energy Board for the increase of rates for residents in a specific catchment region.
Ms. Watson said that while the city is a shareholder of the hydro utility it has no say how the money is spent, explaining that the work GSU has planned will take place even if the KED fails to materialize. She also argued that Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti, who is a main opposer of the plan would not allow for KED-related costs into the GSU’s budget.
Mr. Signoretti has also commented on the topic and said that the hiding of the KED money in the budget is simply not true. He also added that as a prominent objector to the KED who would have made it known if the money was put into the budget and he would have addressed it earlier. The councillor insists that GSU is obligated to treat every partner or client equally and the involved in the KED will be treated similarly.
Groundwork Can Start
In a September council meeting, all members voted for a notion to allow groundwork to begin at the KED site. The council then voted 7 to 6 in favor of the site preparation work, and the task will be given to Bot Engineering & Construction Ltd. who are expected to begin work at the location by the end of this November.
Urging for Written Commitment
At the start of October Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland expressed his concern that there is a lack of written commitment from the partners of the KED project. The councillors even submitted a motion to the city council to negotiate reciprocal commitments from all involved parties. As there are no written agreements between the city and Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, the councillor says the city should be cautious about advancing the project.
Source: Keown, Mary “Allegation city hiding KED costs ‘patently incorrect‘”, The Sault Star, October 30, 2021