This week, Greater Sudbury’s city council voted on a motion to confirm that there are no concrete agreements from partners to build a hotel and a casino at the Kingsway Entertainment District. The motion was introduced by Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier, who has been a prominent fighter for providing more information on the city’s new event centre.
The KED project is one of many legal challenges and delays, the CA$100 million event centre is set to feature a new hockey arena, as well as a casino by Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, a hotel, and more. Additionally, the site is now facing legal challenges but the Minnow Lake Restoration Group requested provincial interference.
Motion Passed Successfully
During this Tuesday’s council meeting, Mr. Montpellier presented a motion which purpose was to clarify the current status of the KED event centre. In his motion, the council members stated that several city officials, the city’s integrity commissioner, and Dario Zulich, who is the developer of the project have all publicly confirmed that there are no legally binding commitments for the casino or the hotel.
In order to support his case, the councillor presented an email he received from Integrity Commissioner Robert Swayze as evidence. In the email, Mr. Swayze confirmed that there are no build agreements with partners in place. Mr. Montpellier has also accused a council member of using authoritative tones on social media to claim that such commitments actually exist and that the casino and hotel should open in two years.
The councillor has also commented that the mixed messages are a cause of confusion and distress among the public. He requested from the council to issue a public media notification that the only current build agreement is the site preparation one. He also described last week’s news of KED signing a deal with the hotel operator Genesis Hospitality Inc. as smoke and mirrors and that there was nothing behind it.
His motion was successfully passed at the Tuesday meeting with a vote of 7-6 in favor of it. Councillors Robert Kirwan Ward 5, Rene Lapierre Ward 6, Mike Jakubo Ward 7, Sizer, Leduc Ward 11, and Joscelyne Landry-Altmann Ward 12 voted against Montpellier’s motion. However, their votes were not enough, and the motion passed by the slightest margin.
Partner Raises Concerns
Everything was agreed for site preparation to begin by the end of November, however, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment wrote to the city to put off work at the site. The gaming conglomerate requested for the project to stop while it still faces legal challenges such as the one by the Minnow Lake Restoration Group. Despite, the request, the company assured that it remains on board for the new event centre.
Requesting Provincial Help
Also, at the end of November, an anti-KED group consisting of Arthur Peach, Hazel Ecclestone, Lionel Rudd, Tom Price, Patrick Crowe, and Evan Roberts, wrote a letter to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark. In the letter, the coalition asks for a complete and full independent forensic audit of the affairs of the City of Greater Sudbury for its decision to proceed with KED.
Source: Keown, Mary “KED critic on city council wins small battle”, Sudbury Star, December 14, 2021