Kingsway dominates discussions at council meeting
Published Wednesday, September 12, 2018 12:24PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, September 12, 2018 12:25PM EDT
As the countdown to the October 22nd municipal election continues, Greater Sudbury’s current council met Tuesday evening for the second-last time and the Kingsway Entertainment District dominated discussions, as the project heads closer to a provincial appeal.
It didn’t take long for sparks to fly.
"Would you like to cut me off? Because now I have the record of being cut off the most of any councillor here." said city councillor Gerry Montpellier.
There were some tense moments as the Kingsway Entertainment District once again took centre stage.
"Let this go. And let's move forward with the greatest project we've ever seen in this city." said city councillor Robert Kirwan.
But preparing the site, at a cost of $8.5-million dollars while the project faces an appeal, has been controversial.
"If the developer wants to assume the risk, then let him assume the risk." said city councillor Mark Signoretti.
But staff says they are confident they can win the appeal.
"To hold up on that now, while we wait for LPAT, would significantly alter the delivery date with respect to the entire project." said Catherine Matheson, general manager of community development for the City of Greater Sudbury.
Matheson also points out the expense will be shared by all four partners involved in the project, not just the city.
One of those partners, a big name in hospitality, was revealed for the first time.
"And we're working with the hotel interest through the developer right at this present time. There is an interest from Hilton." said Matheson.
But as the project heads to the new and untested Local Planning Appeals Tribunal, one question stood out.
It was raised by councillor Signoretti, a frequent and often vocal critic of the project. If a successful appeal kills or at least significantly delays the Kingsway Entertainment District, can the developers turn around and sue the city?
No direct answer was given from the city's top lawyer, Eric Labelle.
"That's not something we would typically discuss in open session and we should be moving into closed session to have that discussion." said Labelle.
And as the meeting neared the end of its fourth hour, a bizarre procedural twist turned a motion to halt any further Kingsway spending into a vote on whether to reconsider the Kingsway in the first place, which was soundly defeated.
But not before one last testy exchange.
Councillors Montpellier and Kirwan shouting at each other and Montpellier storming off.