The Kenilworth Economic Development Corporation (KED) is hoping to put a referendum on the ballot that would allow for gambling in the city. The current proposal needs 30% of voters to support it, but has yet to get close after two years of campaigning.

City Council Puts KED Referendum Motion to Bed

Members of the Greater Sudbury council put the proposal for a referendum on the Kingsway Entertainment District to rest this week during a Tuesday council meeting. Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier introduced the motion a while ago, but it was later defeated; nonetheless, Mr. Montpellier still feels that citizens should have a voice in the subject.

City-Official-Claims-KED-Vote-Was-Legit

Although KED was announced in 2017, work on the CA$100 million event center has yet to commence. The much-discussed project, which will include a hockey rink, a hotel, and a CA$60 million casino by Gateway Casinos, has been hampered by a slew of legal issues that have kept it from commencing construction.

The Election on Tuesday

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Mr. Montpellier’s request for a referendum on the issue was rejected by the municipal council on Tuesday. He proposed the resolution a few months ago, and it asks residents whether they favor spending CA$113 million on a new arena as part of the municipal elections on October 24. Despite his move, the arena seems to be going ahead, according to the council members.

Mr. Montpellier’s proposal was characterized as a review of the council’s July 2021 decision to continue with the development of KED, which passed with an 8 to 3 vote in favor. The motion, according to Mayor Brian Bigger, is clearly a reconsideration, and if passed, it would put a halt to the arena project’s construction.

As a reconsideration, only those council members who voted in support of the plan’s implementation in July 2021 were allowed to make the resolution. However, none of the project’s eight backers agreed to endorse Mr. Montpellier’s motion, and the mayor ruled it null and void. Ward 1 Councilman Mark Signoretti attempted to overturn the mayor’s decision, but his motion was denied as well.

Following a press conference, mayor Bigger said that the council had reached a firm decision to support the KED project. Motions to halt its growth, he claims, are a waste of time for everyone involved and make the council less productive. Ward 2 Councilman Michael Vagnini also proposed an anti-KED resolution, but it was defeated before it could be debated.

Concern Is Growing

Back in November last year, just when Sudbury was about to break ground at the KED site, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment requested to pause the project. The gaming leader expressed its concern about the legal challenge by the Minnow Lake Restoration Group and requested to halt the project until it is resolved. The company assured that it remains fully committed to the project.

Builder and Operator are needed.

The news about Gateway Casinos & Entertainment’s request did not phase the city. Recently city announced that they will be starting the application process to select a designer/builder. According to previous reports, three teams are in contention for the builder spot. The list features Ball/TESC Construction Inc. (Joint Venture)/Architecture 49 Inc, EllisDon Corporation/BBB Architects Toronto Inc. with J. L. Richards & Associates Limited, and PCL Constructors Canada Inc. with Parkin Architects Ltd.

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