With the Kingsway Entertainment District long known for weighing down city council meetings with lengthy, heated debates, Tuesday’s meeting should be a doozie.
Three motions related to the municipal arena-centred entertainment district will be voted on. A divided city council has been debating the project for years and recently approved site work to commence by Nov. 29.
First up for debate will be a motion by Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland, who is striving to gain written commitments from the project’s private partners. The motion reads:
“To further support the project’s success, and without affecting the advancement of the project, staff negotiate with the project partners to establish a new contract for the construction phase of the Kingsway Entertainment District that adds reciprocal commitments to advance each partner’s project to substantial completion, establishes timelines for construction and to report the results of this agreement for council’s consideration no later than Dec. 14, 2021.”
Although McCausland is a longtime opponent of the project and has been accused of employing delay tactics in the past, he clarified to Sudbury.com last week that this is not his intention and that the motion in front of council is not intended to in any way delay the project.
Also included in Tuesday’s agenda is an update on the Kingsway Entertainment District alongside a resolution that staff finalize negotiations with Bot Engineering & Construction Ltd. to begin site preparation work by Nov. 29.
Both the report and its accompanying motion are identical to those city council considered at their Sept. 28 meeting, when the motion passed by a margin of 7-6. There’s no explanation as to why the motion is reappearing on Tuesday.
On the Valley East Facebook page he moderates, Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan announced on Friday that he would be introducing a motion during Tuesday’s meeting alongside Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc. This motion reads:
“Be it resolved that the City of Greater Sudbury directs staff to present a plan for Council’s approval in the fourth quarter that recommends how best to ensure the existing Community Arena and/or the property on which it resides, fully contributes to downtown renewal efforts, and sustains community vibrancy that includes, among other more technical steps, a plan for extensive public consultation.”
The Sudbury Community Arena relates to the Kingsway Entertainment District by way of a long and ongoing debate that the city should have renovated the existing downtown arena instead of building a new arena on The Kingsway.
Last month, Jason McLennan, a world-renowned figure in both architecture and in particular the green building movement in arenas, offered his insights on what could be done with the existing arena.
In his post, Kirwan noted that even though the Kingsway Entertainment District is slated for a 2024 grand opening, the existing arena also warrants attention.
“We don't want to wait until we close the arena to start the conversation,” he wrote on Facebook. “This will allow us plenty of time to come up with a plan that will ensure the downtown arena contributes to the revitalization of the downtown core. The repurposing of the downtown arena will also coincide with the anticipated opening of the Junction East Library / Art Gallery.”
Tuesday’s city council meeting will be live-streamed beginning at 6 p.m. and can be viewed by clicking here.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.