This week, during a Tuesday council meeting of Greater Sudbury, members of the council have put the motion requesting a referendum on Kingsway Entertainment District to bed. The motion was presented by Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier a while back, but it has now been dismissed, but Mr. Montpellier still believes that locals need to have a say on the matter.
KED was announced back in 2017, however, the construction of the CA$100 million event centre is yet to begin. The heavily discussed project which will come with a hockey arena, a hotel, and a CA$60 million casino by Gateway Casinos, has faced numerous legal challenges that always prevented from breaking ground.
In this Tuesday’s city council meeting, members dismissed Mr. Montpellier’s motion for a referendum on the matter. He introduced the motion a while back, and it aimed to be part of the October 24 municipal elections and asks locals if they support spending CA$113,000,000 on a new arena. The council members commented that despite his motion, the arena seems to be moving forward.
At the meeting, Mr. Montpellier’s motion was classified as a reconsideration of a July 2021 decision of the council to proceed with the development of KED, which passed in favor with an 8 to 3 vote. Mayor Brian Bigger commented that the motion is obviously a reconsideration, and passing it would stop the process of constructing the arena project.
As a reconsideration, the only eligible members of the council able to move the motion were those who voted in favor of the July 2021 decision to proceed with the plan. However, none of the eight supporters of the project were willing to support Mr. Montpellier’s motion, and the mayor declared it null. Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti tried to challenge the mayor’s decision, but his motion was also rejected.
After a media briefing, mayor Bigger commented that the council has made a clear decision to go with the KED project. According to him, motions raised to stop its development are only wasting everyone’s time and making the council less effective. Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini also had an anti-KED motion, but he pulled it off before debate.
Back in November last year, just when Sudbury was about to break ground at the KED site, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment requested to pause the project. The gaming leader expressed its concern about the legal challenge by the Minnow Lake Restoration Group and requested to halt the project until it is resolved. The company assured that it remains fully committed to the project.
Looking for Builder and Operator
The news about Gateway Casinos & Entertainment’s request did not phase the city. Recently city announced that they will be starting the application process to select a designer/builder. According to previous reports, three teams are in contention for the builder spot. The list features Ball/TESC Construction Inc. (Joint Venture)/Architecture 49 Inc, EllisDon Corporation/BBB Architects Toronto Inc. with J. L. Richards & Associates Limited, and PCL Constructors Canada Inc. with Parkin Architects Ltd.
Source: Clarke, Tyler “Proposed KED referendum question killed by city council”, Sudbury.com, February 9, 2022