Gateway Casinos committed to Sudbury's Kingsway Entertainment District, says city
Greater Sudbury city staff say new arena could be completed by 2025
Gateway Casinos remains committed to Sudbury's Kingsway Entertainment District despite some outstanding issues related to the project, says a city manager.
In November, the casino operator said it could not continue to fund the project, which also includes plans for a publicly-funded city arena and a hotel, until some outstanding issues were resolved.
Those issues include a legal challenge from Minnow Lake Restoration Group and an ongoing OPP investigation into reports of council bribery.
"We are fully engaged with Gateway on a weekly basis and working through these issues," Ian Wood, the executive director of strategic initiatives, told Sudbury city council Tuesday night.
During the meeting, city staff presented a report outlining the risks associated with the $100 million arena project and how to avoid them.
The staff report also says the partners in the Kingsway Entertainment District want to ensure they each hold up their end of the development and are able to complete their respective facilities around the same time.
City staff say the partners, which also includes land owner Dario Zulich and hotel operator Genesis Hospitality, have agreed to negotiate a project completion agreement over the next three to four months that would include a construction schedule and help them coordinate completion dates.
Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger told council that all four partners want to move forward with the long delayed entertainment district, but some city councillors are still concerned about it's viability.
"This project could be the biggest thing ever, before this council walks out, or this project could be one of the biggest harms that we've ever taken down for the future," said Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini.
Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland says the city should wait for the OPP investigation and lawsuit from the Minnow Lake Restoration Group to conclude before moving ahead.
"I feel we must not rush this now because this process has been so excruciatingly long," he said.
The city staff report said it would cost $700,000 to move ahead with a request for proposals for designing and building a new 5,800 seat arena.
But McCausland argued the city should not invest that money until it is certain all partners can proceed.
The staff report said if all goes to plan and there aren't further delays, the new arena could be completed by 2025.