Sudbury KED decision appeal to be heard in court Monday

Lawyers will be in Ontario Divisional Court Monday, virtually arguing a case affecting Sudbury's Kingsway Entertainment District (KED). A legal challenge, launched last summer by the Minnow Lake Restoration Group, is the latest hurdle for the planned arena and event centre in Sudbury. 

The Minnow Lake Restoration Group is seeking to quash a resolution of council from last summer

The Kingsway Entertainment District has faced numerous delays and legal challenges. (Jamie-Lee McKenzie/CBC)

Lawyers will be in Ontario Divisional Court Monday, virtually arguing a case affecting Sudbury's Kingsway Entertainment District (KED). A legal challenge, launched last summer by the Minnow Lake Restoration Group, is the latest hurdle for the planned arena and event centre in Sudbury. 

The KED, first approved in 2017 by city council, has already survived legal challenges both in Superior Court and the Local Planning and Appeals Tribunal. While those previous challenges related to bylaws passed in 2018 approving the development, and whether the city followed proper planning principals, the case in court on Monday relates to a much more recent decision of council — in July 2021.

The Minnow Lake Restoration Group is arguing that a resolution passed by council on July 14 2021 should be quashed, saying the mayor, council and senior staff made several errors in law, including not following proper procedure and not disclosing relevant information that would have affected the result. 

"This is a matter of the public's trust. To ensure that bureaucrats listen and act upon requests for the best interests of the constituency they serve, and those they report to at Council Chambers," said the group in a press release.

Council divided

The resolution passed on July 14 last year directed staff to proceed with work on the event centre "without further delay". But the Minnow Lake Restoration Group argues information councillors had asked for in previous meetings had not been provided ahead of the vote, including an economic impact analysis and a review of compliance with the city's Climate Energy and Emissions Plan. 

Like nearly all issues surrounding the KED, reaction to this latest legal challenge from city councillors has been divided.

Greater Sudbury city councillor Robert Kirwan says the legal challenge from the Minnow Lake Restoration Group is a delay tactic. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

Coun. Robert Kirwan, a project supporter, said the challenge has "no merit," and he's confident it will be defeated. 

"They're using any possible legal means they can to disrupt the flow of our decisions," Kirwan said. 

Meanwhile Coun. Mark Signoretti, who is opposed to the KED, said he believes there were issues surrounding the passing of the resolution last summer. 

"A number of my colleagues have asked questions or required information that just wasn't provided to give us the exact analysis that we were looking for," Signoretti said. 

Coun. Mark Signoretti is opposed to the Kingsway Entertainment District, and says councillors and taxpayers should have all relevant information. (Benjamin Aube/CBC)

Geoff McCausland was one of the councillors who asked those questions, but he said he himself was a bit confused when the Minnow Lake Restoration Group launched legal action last summer. 

"I understand that it had something to do with I guess myself and the questions that I asked that were never answered. But really it just seemed like… it was all a little bit convoluted," McCausland said. 

However McCausland said he "understand[s] the Minnow Lake group's frustration and I share a lot of it."

McCausland noted that if the Minnow Lake group is successful, it wouldn't prevent the city from proceeding with the KED, but would instead cause a "temporary delay."

"If council's still committed they can just pass the same resolutions again, get the report that they might need and move forward," McCausland said. 

2022 election issue? 

The legal challenge from the Minnow Lake Restoration Group has already affected the timeline for work on the KED. In November, site work at the Kingsway location was put on pause at the request of Gateway Casinos, one of the project partners. At the time Gateway sited the ongoing legal challenge as one of the reasons. 

McCausland said he "cannot wait to be done with this discussion," but with the next municipal election just over six months away he said it's hard to imagine the future of the project won't become an election issue. 

Geoff McCausland is the city councillor for Ward 4 in Greater Sudbury. (Submitted by The City of Greater Sudbury)

"Knowing its so close I think that we need to give the next council the opportunity to decide the future of this project," he said. 

Kirwan, meanwhile, said the future of the KED should "absolutely not" be an election issue. 

"It would be unfair to put any kind of responsibility on a new council after October to make the final decision. Because we've already come this far, we've got to this point. We know what is happening and it's up to this council to make the final decision," Kirwan said. 


Sarah MacMillan is a journalist with CBC Toronto. She previously reported in Subdury and Prince Edward Island. You can contact her at


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