This week’s city council meeting has confirmed that Greater Sudbury’s Kingsway Entertainment District project’s grand opening will be pushed to a later date. The event centre, which was on track to have its grand reopening in 2024, will now be completed in 2025. This is due to Gateway Casinos & Entertainment’s request to halt the project during the ongoing legal challenges.
The planned KED site is set to cost around CA$100 million out of taxpayers’ money, and it will come with a hockey arena, CA$60 million casino by Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, a hotel, and even more. However, recently the gaming leader expressed their concerns about the ongoing legal challenge by the Minnow Lake Restoration Group and bribery investigations.
One of the Reasons
In this week’s city council meeting, officials debated for around two hours on the subject of KED and its future, but to no avail, as no resolutions were found. Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini and several other councillors suggested that the project should be put on hold. Their arguments were the growing uncertainty of the unprecedented situation, the legal challenge by the Minnow Lake Restoration Group, and an OPP investigation for bribery.
Those reasons were also cited by the gaming conglomerate which in November informed that it will stop its investment in the project until the legal challenges are settled. During the meeting, officially compiled a new report which comes with a new anticipated timeline for the KED, which features several points, including a grand opening reschedule from 2024 to 2025.
The report also requires the issuing of a design-build request for proposals later this month, as well as issuing of a venue operator request also scheduled for this month. The project should also start negotiating with partners on details of a project completion agreement later this month. It also outlined that site preparation must start early in the third quarter, as well as a construction start in Q4 of 2022.
During the Tuesday meeting, Ian Wood, the Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives, commented that the city is in regular talks with Gateway Casinos & Entertainment. He insisted that the corporation remains fully invested in the project, and that they are negotiating how to resolve some issues with it. Mayor Brian Bigger also asserted that all four partners want to move forward with the project.
Three Possible Outcomes
Previously, Trevor Farrow, a professor and former associate dean at Osgoode Hall Law School has also given his opinion on the KED project and the Minnow Lake Restoration Group’s legal challenge. The first outcome being court sending back the decision to the decision-making body. It can dismiss the matter and uphold the decision of the city council to proceed with the KED. Orit could supplant its own decision and give a different one, however, this one less likely.
Hotel Partner Found
Also, in December, the KED informed that it has found a hotel operator which will be part of the CA$100 million site. The developer revealed that it had a deal in place with hotel chain Genesis Hospitality, and that the company is willing to develop a flagship hotel at the highly discussed event centre in the outskirts of Greater Sudbury.
Source: Clarke, Tyler “The KED’s anticipated grand opening pushed back to 2025”, Sudbury.com, January 12, 2022