In just a few months, Sudbury could know the fate of the Kingsway Entertainment District.
Those for and against the KED will meet for a hearing at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal on Sept. 17-18. But before that, the parties will meet at Superior Court on June 29-30.
The KED is to consist of a $100-million arena/events centre that city taxpayers will pay for, and a casino, to be built by Gateway Casinos.
The city is facing two legal challenges regarding the KED. Twelve appeals have been filed with the LPAT, by Steve May, Tom Fortin, Christopher Duncanson-Hales, the Minnow Lake Restoration Group and the downtown BIA. The appeals objected to various aspects of the project, including parking lot rezoning; casino rezoning; amendments made to the official plan concerning the casino; and arena rezoning.
Last year, Fortin also filed a lawsuit against the city at Superior Court, alleging fettering, or bias.
“(LPAT vice-chair David) Lanthier has confirmed these hearing dates should allow sufficient time for the delivery of the decision by the Ontario Superior Court, on the application to be heard on June 29 and 30, in advance of the hearing of the LPAT appeals,” Tamara Zwarycz, a case co-ordinator with the LPAT, told The Star. “The hearing dates will also allow time for the delivery of the written questions to the witnesses, and receipt of their written answers.”
The saga of the Kingsway Entertainment District began in November 2015, when Dario Zulich presented his idea to the previous city council. The city opened council chambers for the day and invited residents to pitch their ideas for large projects that would benefit the community.
Proponents for about a dozen projects presented their ideas to council, including Zulich, who said he envisioned an arena at The Kingsway and Levesque Street, which would eventually become part of a much larger entertainment district.
Councillors threw their weight behind several projects, including a new events centre. They also voted to support Place des Arts, a new library and art gallery, and a performing arts centre. Those projects are currently underway.
On June 27, 2017, council voted on the arena location. Councillors first voted on a downtown location, but that vote was lost in a 6-6 tie (Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier abstained from the vote). Then council voted on The Kingsway location; it was approved by a margin of 10-2.
The Kingsway was almost immediately a controversial location and shortly after the vote in 2017, the appeals were filed.
The parties met for case management conferences in November 2018 and August 2019. They were set to meet May 5; however, COVID-19 prompted a halt to all tribunal activity.
Now it is ready to resume hearings, albeit virtually.
“There is also an application related to the KED before the Superior Court of Justice, which is scheduled to be heard on June 29-30. If the Superior Court issues a decision shortly after the hearing, it is possible the LPAT hearing could be moved to August 2020,” the city said. “The LPAT hearing has been reduced from four days to two due to the virtual format of the proceedings. Witnesses will be sent written questions and will submit written responses prior to the hearing, rather than being questioned in person by the LPAT members. This change reduced the amount of days required for the hearing.”
For more information on council’s large projects, go to greatersudbury.ca/largeprojects.
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