Work progresses on Kingsway Entertainment District despite LPAT appeal process
Once partners sign agreement, site grating to begin at Kingsway property
Work continues on the Kingsway Entertainment District (KED) project in Greater Sudbury, despite zoning appeals by several groups.
City council was provided a project update on Tuesday, at its final meeting before the new council takes over.
Councillors were also updated on the appeals currently working their way through the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal or LPAT.
The KED will see an arena/events centre, a casino and a hotel built on a parcel of land along the Kingsway, in the east part of Sudbury.
Along with the City of Greater Sudbury, the other partners are developer Dario Zulich and Gateway Casinos. There will also be a hotel partner through the developer.
Project manager David Shelsted told councillors that once the city provides submissions to LPAT by the end of this year, the tribunal will schedule a second case management conference, early in the new year.
He says it's hoped at that second conference, LPAT will set a hearing date.
When LPAT held the first case conference earlier this month, all three KED partners asked for an expedited decision.
According to Shelsted, the draft cost sharing agreement is now being looked over by the other partners, and their legal teams.
"We're hoping to meet within the coming week in regards to getting their comments back and putting final touches, and signing off on the draft comprehensive cost sharing agreement," he said.
Councillor Deb McIntosh asked that council be able to view the document before it's signed.
"No necessarily to vote on it, but just to feel a sense of comfort," she said.
City CAO Ed Archer agreed this was possible, and that city staff would work with the councillors to schedule a time and provide an informational presentation.
"We would undertake to give you the information you need to feel comfortable with the process, recognizing the authority we have to also follow [city council's] previous directions to continue to work without delay," Archer said.
Interim general manager of community development, Ian Wood has been given authority to sign the cost sharing agreement on the city's behalf.
However, Archer told council that Wood was out of town, this week. The earliest the document could be signed was next week.
Once the agreement is signed by the partners, work will go ahead at the site.
"Our commitment to council has been that after the comprehensive cost sharing agreement has been signed, that we will sign the early works tender package and proceed with the site grating, and our partners have committed to that as well," Shelsted said.
What's the legal risk?
Councillor Mark Signoretti asked about the city's legal risk by moving forward on a project that's currently under appeal.
"The city's position on this project and on the LPAT appeals is very strong," Eric Labelle, city clerk and solicitor, responded.
"Staff are confident, as well as our external counsel and counsel for our partners are very confident. So I think there is definitely strong position for moving forward and that is the direction that's been received from council at this point," he added.
Signoretti also wondered about the timeline for the project, given the current LPAT appeals.
"Can this be dragged on, or the deadlines be extended so this may not even be looked at until the fall?"
"The looming question in this whole decision is LPAT, and LPAT is still trying to figure out what they're trying to do and what they're going to look at or not look at,"Signoretti said.
"This could get dragged out for another eight months to a year," he added.
Shelsted says that at the LPAT case conference earlier this month, all three KED partners asked for an expedited hearing date and decision from LPAT.
"We are very confident we will get a successful ruling from LPAT."
With files from Angela Gemmill