SUDBURY -- CTV News has learned that a June 10 telephone meeting by the Local Planning Appeals tribunal aims to set a new hearing date to deal with the Kingsway Entertainment District.

The original hearing -- the final step in the LPAT process before a decision is made -- was scheduled for May 5, but was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the tribunal has not returned messages seeking information about the meeting, sources have confirmed the purpose is to reschedule a date for the hearing.

Original story

The parties involved in a fight over a major development in Greater Sudbury will meet over the phone next week for a case management conference.

The Local Planning Appeals Tribunal has scheduled the conference June 10 at 9 a.m. At issue is the Kingsway Entertainment District, a plan to build a new community arena, casino and hotel on property in the Moonlight Beach area of the city.

Local businessman Tom Fortin has spearheaded opposition to the plan, opposing both the casino and plans to move the arena out of downtown Sudbury. Planning approvals to build the $100 million arena and $60 million casino were approved in spring 2018, and the matter has been under appeal ever since.

Most recently, the LPAT struck one of the appeals from the case. The Minnow Lake Restoration Group, represented by local activist John Lindsay, had argued the KED violated the province's planning guidelines by approving the parking lot for the development.

While the appeal raised concerns about salt entering the Ramsey Lake Watershed, and the impact of added traffic, the tribunal ruled the appeal raised general concerns and failed to demonstrate specifically how the provincial policy statement (PPS) was not followed.

"It is insufficient for Minnow Lake to merely cite three policy sections of the PPS and then provide a lengthy narrative of its views and differences of opinion regarding the list of concerns and apprehensions," the tribunal wrote.

"Minnow Lake’s mere statements that the bylaw is inconsistent with identified policies, without an analysis as to why, amount to conclusions without reasoning, and assertions without explanation."

That leaves Fortin, activist Steve May, Laurentian University professor Christopher Duncanson-Hales and the downtown Sudbury Business Improvement Association still opposing the KED.

On the other side of the table is Greater Sudbury, Gateway Casinos and a lawyer for developer Dario Zulich, who owns most of the land where the development is supposed to take place.

A hearing to actually deal with the case was scheduled for May 5, but was cancelled because of COVID-19. CTV News has asked the LPAT the purpose of the June 10 meeting, but has not yet received a response.