The Minnow Lake Restoration Group continues its claim that the City of Greater Sudbury is still not quite transparent on the costs of the Kingsway Entertainment District’s new event centre. The organization’s lawyer Eric Gillespie alleges that the city’s administration continues to display a pattern of non-disclosure when it comes to the multi-million project.
The KED event centre is scheduled to officially launch sometime in 2024, and the CA$100 million property will include a hockey arena, a hotel, and a casino among other types of entertainment. The casino should be operated by Gateway Casinos & Entertainment, and the city is currently negotiating for a hotel operator.
Still Withholding Details
Mr. Gillespie previously said that the city is still trying to hide some details about the KED site as this was evident in the November 3 council meeting. According to the lawyers, this was further demonstrated by the reluctance of Ian Wood, who is the official responsible for the project, to provide a concrete answer of whether the city has committed agreements for the casino and the hotel parts.
After being asked by other councillors, Mr. Wood revealed that the city does not have any further agreed commitment and the ones in place are the only ones right now. During the meeting, Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc claimed that he knows of an agreement with a hotel operator, but he has sworn to secrecy. The organization is now wondering how the councillor has learned the info and how it could have affected his voting choice for KED.
The Minnow Restoration Group is alleging that the identification and commitment of the project partners were kept from the knowledge of the city council before their vote on KED in June. Additionally, the organization claims that key information was overlooked, including an economic impact assessment, an evaluation of the project in relation to the Community Energy and Emissions Plan, and even more.
The group’s argument is that the senior executive officials from the city’s administration have shown systematic reluctance to answer coucillors’ questions on several occasions, including July 14, 2021. According to the organization, Mr. Wood purposefully avoided answering questions and that the discussions were often put to an end by Mayor Brian Bigger.
Still Gaining Support
Despite the fierce opposition against the KED project, at the start of November, the Wahnapitae First Nation has officially opted to back controversial event centre. The tribe’s argument is that the new property would provide exceptional economic value to the city of Greater Sudbury as it would attract tourists from all around the globe.
Despite the legal opposition from the non-profit organization, the city has decided to continue with the development of the site. Back in September the council even voted on a motion to begin site preparation, with a 7-6 in favor vote. Work was assigned to Bot Engineering & Construction Ltd. and it should begin by the end of this November.
Source: “Anti-KED group alleges city continues to hide information”, Sudbury Star, November 12, 2021