Superior Court rejects Kingsway Entertainment District challenge

Dario Zulich, the property developer whose vision for the Kingsway Entertainment District has drawn criticism from activists and legal challenges from local business owners, says it’s time to move forward.

Case in Superior Court was not about the plans for the KED — but rather how the city approved them

The proposed Kingsway Entertainment District has drawn the ire of downtown business owners, as well as an anti-casino group. (Jamie-Lee McKenzie/CBC)

The City of Greater Sudbury is a step closer to being able to move forward with the development of the Kingsway Entertainment District (KED). 

The proposed arena and casino development has drawn criticism from several high-profile groups, and has been delayed by legal challenges. But a Superior Court in Sudbury has ruled the city did no wrong when approving bylaws for the development of the $100 million project.

The challenge was presented by Tom Fortin, a Sudbury entrepreneur. The project is also facing legal challenges in the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. 

The case in Superior Court was not about the plans for the KED themselves — but rather how the city approved the development.    

In the court challenge, lawyers representing Fortin, said the city of Greater Sudbury acted in "a pattern of bad faith" in the process to approve the KED, or that the process to approve the project was flawed.

But in his decision, Regional Senior Judge Ellies said "the applicant has failed to establish that there was any statutory breach or that he was denied common law procedural fairness in the process leading up to the passage of the KED by-laws."

"The evidence relied upon by the applicant, whether considered in isolation or in its entirety, is insufficient to support his allegations of disqualifying bias and bad faith." 

In an overview of the case, Ellies wrote he was "satisfied that the decision as to where the arena/event centre would be located was made after a careful study of the potential effects of locating it there, as part of a robust democratic process in which the members of City Council were entitled to hold a view on behalf of their constituents."

In an emailed statement, property developer Dario Zulich said:

"It's now time for us all to put this behind us and work together to grow Greater Sudbury."

The city said it's also "pleased" with the decision reached by Regional Senior Justice Ellies.

"City staff will now take some time to review the documentation and bring the clarified details and information to City Council as soon as possible," the city said in an emailed statement.

"This is a positive step forward, and we are confident we can expect to see similar results resolving the appeals to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) that will allow the City of Greater Sudbury to proceed with its plans for modernization and development as planned in 2017."

Tom Fortin could not be reached for comment.


Casey Stranges is a reporter based in Sudbury.


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