Tensions were high during the Sudbury city council meeting on Sept. 28.
City council decided to move ahead with the next phase of the Kingsway Entertainment District (KED) project. But, the decision wasn’t without controversy.
Council members voted for a motion to prepare the site for excavation. When complete, the project will include an arena, casino, and hotel.
Blasting at the proposed site could begin by Nov. 29.
As reported by CBC, a 7-6 vote supported the motion to begin site preparation for the $100-million project before November’s end.
Ward 9 Coun. Deb McIntosh abstained from the vote, but a city clerk said abstention counts as a no vote.
Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan said waiting on blasting and preparing the site for the development would mean more prolonged delays. “We need to approve this so we can hit the 2024 target,” he said.
According to a staff report, site preparation will cost about CA$9.7 million, out of which the city will pay $5.9m. Gateway Casinos will cover $2.2m.
The hotel will pay $1.1m of the site prep costs, while Dario Zulich, the developer, is responsible for $530,000.
Blasting to begin by winter
“Blasting is a relatively good thing to do over the wintertime,” said David Shelsted, the city’s director of engineering services. “It’s not temperature-dependent like concrete pouring, asphalt placement, or steel erection would be.”
Sudbury mayor Brian Bigger also supported moving ahead with the project.
“The partners that we’re moving forward with, they each have business cases,” Bigger said. “They each have commitments to others.”
Fears and Concerns
Those who voted against the motion said they were concerned there were no written commitments from partners.
“All I’m hearing are verbal commitments; I’m not hearing any contractual (commitments), so that is a red flag to me,” said Ward 4 representative Geoff McCausland who voted against the motion.
Ward 3 representative Gerry Montpellier had the same concerns about a lack of written commitments.
Montpellier voted against the motion. He previously abstained from votes related to the development due to his involvement in the motorsports industry.
But, with the motorsports component removed from the KED project, Montpellier took part in the vote.