Kingsway Entertainment District inches closer to reality in Sudbury

The chips are falling into place for the partners behind the Kingsway Entertainment District in Sudbury.

City council passes final design plan, construction to be completed in 2020

City Council approved the final site plan for the Kingsway Entertainment District last night. (CIty of Greater Sudbury)

The chips are falling into place for the partners behind the Kingsway Entertainment District in Sudbury. 

On Wednesday night, city council passed the final site design for the project, which includes a casino, hockey arena and hotel.

It's the culmination of work between developer Dario Zulich, Gateway Casinos and the city. 

Greater Sudbury city councillor Gerry Montpellier represents Ward 3, which includes Chelmsford, Dowling, Onaping and Levack. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

But it was the casino's involvement that had most councillors talking last night.

Gerry Montpellier told council the arrival of the casino would be a huge blow to the slots at Sudbury Downs.

"I hear about all these million and millions [of tourists] and everybody's joyful," Montpellier said. "But I can tell you about a place in Chelmsford. The tourists eat there. Sleep there. Buy gas. They do. They're not cheerful there. Because some of them will be bankrupt."

Coun. Lynne Reynolds cautioned the councillors about speaking against the casino at last night's meeting.

"I want to remind everyone that the location is not an issue for council to debate," Reynolds said. "It's an agreement between the province and Gateway who won the bid and who have chosen their preferred location."

"This needs to be made very, very clear. We are not debating the casino issue."

Chamber's recent controversy 

Recently, two people who were once the face of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce quit the board over the group's stance on a new casino and arena.

Andre Dumais and Vicki Jacobs, both former chairs of the chamber, resigned as directors when they were told they couldn't speak publicly against plans to build the new entertainment complex.

"As much as I love the chamber and I love the people I work with, the position [of the chamber] is just too weak," Dumais told CBC news. "This is a time when we need to step up and look at this in an empirical way, drop the emotion from it and say 'What is right for the community?'" 

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