Sudbury developer says expanded Kingsway Entertainment District pitch will result in savings

The developer of the Kingsway Entertainment District in Sudbury is making a pitch to expand his offerings, while giving the taxpayer a break in the pocketbook.

Dario Zulich wants the city to build its new convention centre within the KED

Dario Zulich has sent a letter to the City of Greater Sudbury pitching the Kingsway Entertainment District as a site for the city's new convention centre. (Supplied/City of Greater Sudbury)

The developer of the Kingsway Entertainment District in Sudbury is making a pitch to expand his offerings, while giving the taxpayer a break in the pocketbook.

Dario Zulich is trying to sell the city on the idea of building its conference and convention centre on his Kingsway property.

The City of Greater Sudbury is planning to put a new convention centre on the location of the old Sudbury Arena, once it's been demolished.

A new arena will be built at the Kingsway Entertainment District, along with a hotel and casino. However, the project is currently delayed as it makes its way through the provincial Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

Zulich has sent a letter to the city as an official request for formal discussions.

"The dependency of the downtown to the events centre has caused the city to take a look at moving around the art gallery-library and essentially detaching it from the convention centre and that's what spawned the idea," he said.

"I always thought it should be on the site and we're looking into it further and it makes total sense."

Dario Zulich is proposing an expansion to the KED project. (Casey Stranges/CBC)

Zulich adds the change would net the city significant savings.

"Building a convention centre out there along with the event centre, the hotel conference centre, you know the festival square, the casinos going out there, it just fits and it just makes sense," he said.

"We promise opportunity to make significant savings so we can have our cake and eat it too."

Changes to LPAT process?

Meanwhile, court proceedings underway in Toronto this week will determine how legal challenges will proceed against plans for the KED project.

A decision is expected on whether all parties involved in the appeals can cross examine witnesses. Currently, only tribunal adjudicators can ask questions during a simple or short hearing.

Tom Fortin is with Casino Free Sudbury, one of the groups opposing the KED project.

He says whatever the court decides, his group is moving forward with their appeal against the project in the LPAT process.

"We'll play ball with whatever format is put before us but we're not going to withdraw because of the process," he said.

Tom Fortin is with the group Casino Free Sudbury, a group opposing the Kingsway Entertainment District development. (Erik White/CBC )

"If it gets complicated, it's just going to cost more money and that's going to cause a bit more pain but we'll figure that out. But withdrawing is not an option."

Fortin says if it's decided that parties can cross examine witnesses, it would mean a longer and more expensive hearing.

"My preference would be [that] they stick to the LPAT process as a prescribed legislation as originally shown to us," he said.

"If they go to a full hearing, well, it just increases the cost and the complexity of the hearing which I don't see much of a benefit to that, other than increasing the cost for everybody."

A court ruling is expected in about two months. Meanwhile, the hearing on the KED project can't go ahead until the argument about the process is settled.

With files from Jamie-Lee McKenzie & Angela Gemmill


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