The never-ending controversy that is the Kingsway Entertainment District will rear its head again at city council June 25.
But the battle over the KED surfaced during Premier Doug Ford's visit Wednesday. A strong supporter of the project, Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc attended the event in Coniston, along with the two city councillors vocally opposed to the KED – Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti and Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland.
Leduc supported a motion at the May 28 city council meeting from Ward 5 Coun. Bob Kirwan that would have formally asked the premier to help move the legal battle along at the LPAT, but that motion was rejected by city council.*
On Wednesday, after Ford took questions from the media, Leduc asked the premier directly if he could help. While Ford said he wanted to help, Signoretti and McCausland told the premier they opposed the KED and the prospect of political interference.
The exchange was captured on Sudbury.com's livestream of the event. Skip ahead to the 12:49-minute mark to watch.
While councillors were told at a recent city council meeting that a new date for restarting the process was expected soon, a spokesperson for the LPAT said Wednesday no new date has yet been established.
But it's another motion from Leduc that is up for debate on June 25. Leduc wants to change the wording of the bylaw creating downtown business improvement areas to prevent future BIAs from taking part in legal action against the city.
The downtown Sudbury BIA is part of a planning appeal trying to prevent the Kingsway Entertainment District from moving forward. The group opposes moving Sudbury Arena from downtown to the KED site.
The group has argued that it receives all of its funding from its members, and has a right to fight for the interests of downtown, as other BIAs in Ontario have done (Peterborough and Windsor, for example).
But Leduc's motion argues BIAs are supposed to focus on “the improvement, beautification and maintenance of municipally owned land, buildings and structures in the area,” and “the promotion of the area as a business or shopping area.”
He's asking city staff to draft a bylaw amendment that would prohibit the BIA from taking part in future legal action against the city, “and that such prohibition also restrict the (BIA) from commencing, maintaining, funding or continuing any proceedings before the the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal or any other administrative tribunal appointed from time to time to deal with land use matters.”
*An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc introduced the motion asking the premier to intervene on the KED. That has been corrected.