After the recent clarification on Kingsway Entertainment District’s hotel partner, the project continues to be a topic of discussion. This week, Trevor Farrow, a professor and former associate dean at Osgoode Hall Law School, commented that Minnow Lake Restoration Group’s legal challenge could be the cause of one more delay in the development of the event centre.
The non-profit organization launched its divisional court action against the KED project back in August this year, and it has requested a judicial review on the city council’s vote to proceed with the project. This was voted in a July 2021 council meeting. The organization wants to see the vote null and void, and it is expected that the matter will not be resolved before mid-2022.
Mr. Farrow has commented that there are three possible scenarios about the outcome of the legal battle against the project, which is set to feature a new event centre, a CA$60 million casino, a hotel, and more venues. In his words, the court could opt for sending back the decision to the decision-making body, which will require it to make the decision on different grounds.
According to him, another outcome would be for the court to dismiss the matter and uphold the decision of the city council to proceed with the KED site. Or, depending on the legislation, it could supplant its own decision and give a different one. However, he believes that the court is less likely to impose its own ruling, due to honoring the autonomy of the original decision-making body, ergo the city council.
The professor has also said that the court may send back the decision to the council to consider and review it again or it may allow it to stand. He continued by saying that he is not an expert and his assessment is based on his expertise only, however, he predicts that the legal battle could lead to several possible outcomes, such as another delay, while the council revisits the vote.
According to Mr. Farrow every arena built in Ontario and with every environmental decision, the people need to trust the decision-making officials, if they do not, then nothing will go ahead. He also said that the KED matter is not a small issue and that the people need to trust the officials, as ultimately this is what the court cares about.
Recent Concern Among Partner
KED is set to feature a CA$60-million casino property which will be developed by Gateway Casinos & Entertainment. However, recently, the gaming conglomerate has requested the city to pause site preparation at the location. The company wants to see the legal issue with the Minnow Lake Restoration Group resolved first and then proceed with the site preparation.
At the end of November, the KED event centre faced more opposition from a local group that disapproves of the project. Consisting of Arthur Peach, Hazel Ecclestone, Lionel Rudd, Tom Price, Ian Berdusco, and Patrick Crowe, the group sent a letter to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark. In which the anti-KED group requested a complete and full independent forensic audit of the affairs of the City of Greater Sudbury.
Source: Keown, Mary “Issue raised in KED case ‘not small’”, Timmins Times, December 29, 2021