Hazel Ecclestone, a Greater Sudbury resident, has grown weary of waiting for the administration to fulfill her freedom of information request on the city’s Kingsway Entertainment District event centre. After seven months with no response, she finally ran out of patience and has resorted to filing an appeal to Ontario’s information and privacy commissioner.
The KED is a CA$100 million project paid by taxpayers’ money, which will be consisting of a CA$60 million casino by Gateway Casinos, a hotel by Genesis Hospitality, a hockey arena, and more. And according to the latest reports from Greater Sudbury, the city is hopeful to complete the project by 2025, however, the site continues to face obstacles.
Ms. Ecclestone who is a prominent opposer of the project, filed her request to the City of Greater Sudbury last summer. In her request, she inquired about a series of emails and correspondence between Ian Wood, Ed Archer, Dario Zulich who is the KED developer, and Gateway Casinos specific to the project. In addition to that, she also asked about talks between Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan and Mr. Zulich.
On January 6, 2022, she received a response from the city, that in order to complete her FOI request, she would need to pay a fee of CA$3,000. She then proceeded to pay a deposit but has not received any records from the city yet. She also expressed her frustration and commented that the city does not have any guiding principles and how poorly it handled the KED affair.
Then on February 22, 2022, Ms. Ecclestone received a letter from the city that they will need an additional five months to complete her request. This led to her filing for an appeal this week to the information and privacy commissioner of Ontario. She said that now she is even more curious to see what the city is trying to hide from locals.
Also, she also indicated that even if her request is fulfilled in five months, it may be a little too late to interfere with the KED project. In her words, those actions from the city’s administration cause even more suspicion and skepticism in locals that the city is determined to push forward the already-controversial project regardless of environmental and economic costs.
Petition Not Present
Ms. Ecclestone is not the only vocal opponent of the project, as she is part of an anti-KED group along with Patrick Crowe, Keith Clarkson, Arthur Peach, and others. Back in November last year, the group demonstrated its discontent as their anti-KED petition was not presented during a city council meeting. The coalition said that the council purposefully rejected the petition, hence ignoring the voice of over 3,000 locals.
However, during a council meeting this February, councillors have dismissed a motion that requests for KED to be part of a referendum. Mayor Brian Bigger commented that the motion by Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier is obviously a reconsideration, and passing it would stop the process of constructing the arena project.
Source: Keown, Mary “Tired of waiting, Sudbury woman launches appeal to get KED information”, Sudbury Star, February 25, 2022