Sudbury mayor orders new report on Kingsway Entertainment District, asks for debate to stop until it's ready
Project has been held up in legal challenges since council approved it in 2017
Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger says he's asking staff to create a new report about the Kingsway Entertainment District.
The development — which was to include a new $100 million city arena, a new casino and possibly a hotel — can now go ahead after being held up by legal challenges since first being approved by council in June 2017.
But given the ongoing debate by the public and city councillors about the plans, Bigger says he hopes a new staff report will bring more clarity.
"The reality is, much has changed since 2017. No one could have predicted COVID-19. And as a community we've been incredibly resilient, but COVID-19 has had a significant impact," Bigger told the virtual city council meeting Tuesday.
"We owe it to our citizens and ourselves to ensure that we have correct information to make some very big decisions in the coming months."
He says he's directed staff to conduct an analysis of all information that's been presented about the project thus far and report back sometime this spring.
Bigger is asking that all Sudburians refrain from further debate about the arena location until then.
"I don't want the KED to continue to polarize the public and the council," he said.
"You know everyone's opinion is important, but I would like to guide us to the facts and accurate information in this special meeting of council, and I would also like us to turn our minds to some priorities that are immediate, such as the opioid crisis, homelessness, and certainly COVID-19."
The public portion of Tuesday night's city council meeting lasted just 15 minutes, after a closed session went on for more than 4 hours, during which councillors received a presentation on the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation and discussed a "personnel matter."