Sudbury

Site work for Kingsway Entertainment District delayed

Sudbury's Kingsway Entertainment District is facing yet another delay. The city has has paused plans to start site grading, at the request of Gateway Casinos.

Gateway Casinos asks city to pause work, siting 'significant risks' to the project

Site work was scheduled to begin Monday for the Kingsway Entertainment District, but work was put on hold at the request of Gateway Casinos. (Erik White/CBC )

Sudbury's Kingsway Entertainment District is facing yet another delay. The city has has paused plans to start site grading, at the request of Gateway Casinos.

Site grading was scheduled to start on Monday, but that same day, the city received an email from Gateway, asking the city to put the work on hold. 

Gateway is one of the partners on the planned arena and event centre complex. And while the company told the city it "remains supportive" of the project, it said it could not invest significant money in the next phase of the project until some issues are resolved.

"Despite all of our efforts, the KED project continues to be challenged by significant risks," said Jagtar Nijjar, executive vice president of development and construction at Gateway, in an email to city staff that was shared with CBC. 

Those risks, Nijjar said, include a legal challenge from Minnow Lake Restoration Group, and an OPP investigation into reports of council bribery

"Given this uncertainty around the project, it is not commercially reasonable for Gateway to continue to provide additional significant funding to the next phase of the project until these ongoing challenges are resolved and the entire scope of the project is confirmed to be moving ahead," the email said.

City to meet with Gateway, developer 

In a statement, the city said it is working closely with the developer and Gateway to ensure work can begin as soon as possible. That was echoed by the city's CAO Ed Archer during a media scrum following a finance committee meeting Monday evening. 

I expect everyone to stay committed to moving forward together.— Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger 

"I wouldn't conclude that it means anything with respect to a change in schedule at this point. Staff are meeting with the partners this week to further review Gateway's request and to look at effects, potential effects, on things like schedule and the deliverables," Archer said.

Mayor Brian Bigger said the city remains committed to the project, as do the partners, noting that Gateway has already spent about $3.9 million on the project.

"All of the partners have made significant investments in moving this project forward. And you know I expect everyone to stay committed to moving forward together in this project," Bigger said. 

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