Planning tribunal sets May 2020 date to hear Sudbury arena-casino appeal: Decision a major blow to Kingsway Entertainment District supporters, squeezes casino plans.

AuthorMacDonald, Darren

The parties battling over Sudbury's Kingsway Entertainment District (KED), a proposed arena-casino project, clashed at a case management conference on Aug. 8, in what would be a major win for those opposed to the project.

Members of the provincial Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT) set May 2020 as the date to hear the actual appeals, a much longer wait than KED supporters were hoping for--and one that brings Gateway Casinos past the expiration date of their lease at Sudbury Downs.

The LPAT is a provincial body that adjudicates municipal land-use decisions.

The battle over the Kingsway project--which includes a new arena, casino and hotel to be built in the city's east end--formally began last spring following city council approval of the project.

While a decision was expected in June, delays over procedures and testing the new LPAT rules stopped the clock on the timeline. With no hearing set for another 10 months, a decision will take more than two years after the KED was approved.

David Shelsted, the city manager in charge of developing the Kingsway, said the city was glad a date for the hearing was finally set, but waiting another 10 months was a surprise.

"We were hoping it would be sooner," Shelsted said.

Rob Mitchell, a spokesperson for Gateway Casinos, said he couldn't comment on what the 2020 date for the hearing meant for the casino's continued involvement in the KED. But he reiterated the company is "absolutely" committed to building a new casino in Greater Sudbury, one way or another.

"We still hold out a great deal of hope and optimism that we will be able to move forward with the project as intended (on the Kingsway)," Mitchell said. "I'll need to take this back and caucus with our legal folks to get a sense of what the implications of this will be, in terms of pushing it out...

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