The Kingsway Entertainment District project continues to be a hot topic of discussion in Greater Sudbury. Last week, board members were invited to share their latest thoughts on the project and what their next steps would be for the plan, as the new event center project offered at the site will now continue. The inauguration is scheduled for 2024.
The city council opted for the KED site in 2017, but since then the project has faced many legal challenges and delays. Some residents have also expressed a preference for renovating the downtown arena instead of building one on the outskirts of town, which will make it more difficult for everyone to access. To this day, discussions about the plan are still ongoing.
District 1 Council. Mark Signoretti has expressed concerns about the location of KED as the new arena is said to be in the proximity to Sudbury landfill site. He even claimed that locating would be the biggest mistake the city has ever made. Next month, the council will be briefed again on the project and discuss some topics such as programming.
Mr. Signoretti also said that for him the next step would be for the City of Greater Sudbury to share more information about the project with council and the public. He explained that he did not support the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers report because he did not answer all of the advisers’ questions, and therefore they do not have enough data to make an informed decision on the matter.
Ward 2 Council. Michael Vagnini believes that the KED plan should be put on hold until the unprecedented situation has completely passed. He thinks the city should prioritize small projects because the economic situation is now very volatile. District 3 Council. Gerry Montpellier wants to see the KED project postponed to this or the next council when all the facts are clear.
Ward 4 Council. Geoff McCausland’s position is to reconsider the KED site because he also thinks the location is a big mistake. Ward 5 Council. Robert Kirwan, ward 7 council. Mike Jakubo, Ward 8 Al Sizer Council, Ward 11 Bill Leduc County, and County 12 Council. Joscelyne Landry-Altmann believes that the project should go ahead. And the rest of the members didn’t comment.
Strong opposition and legal challenges
At the end of August, the anti-KED online petition launched by Patrick Crowe gained even more momentum over the years. 2,300 residents have signed it. Mr. Crowe and some locals believe the proposed KED location for the new center would be difficult to access for most residents and unsustainable. The anti-petition was opposed by one in favor of the chosen location, however, the latter collected only 120 signatures.
On top of that, the new arena hall encountered another legal hurdle, as the Non-Profit Lake Minnow Restoration Group is now asking the Ontario Divisional Court for a judicial review. Lawyer for the organization, Eric Gillespie insisted that city council missed some important details when discussing the project, and if additional information is provided, the final vote could be different.
Source: Clarke, Tyler “Where are they at? City councilors share their latest views on KED ”, Sudbury.com, September 2, 2021