The legislative clock started counting Aug. 8 on the planning appeals filed with the province that aim to stop the Kingsway Entertainment District.
Becky Fong, a spokesperson for the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT), said in an email Thursday that cases such as Sudbury have to be resolved within 10 months.
“The appeals were deemed valid and the validity letters and notice of commencement were issued (Aug. 8),” Fong said. “With regard to timelines, the legislative period starts ... when the notice of commencement was issued. And the timelines for both appeal types are 10 months.”
That would mean a decision would be due in early June of next year. The 10-month timeline will delay the start of the casino and community arena, which the proponents had hoped to start early next year.
However, it's considerably shorter than the multi-year process that was routine at the Ontario Municipal Board, which the LPAT replaced at the beginning of the year.
One of the reasons why the OMB process was so lengthy is it dealt with cases 'de novo' -- from the beginning, as though no municipal decision had been made.
The LPATs, however, examine a local council's decision and look for errors pointed out in the appeals. From there, they determine whether the proposed planning change follows the Official Plan and the Provincial Policy Statement, the local and provincial documents that govern planning decisions in Ontario.
Unlike the OMB, the LPAT won't issue its own decision, but will approve the council's decision, or reject it and send the issue back to the council to try again or let the matter drop.
The next step in the Kingsway appeals process is a case management conference, which is scheduled for Nov. 6 in Sudbury and is open to the public.
The land is owned by businessman Dario Zulich and his partners. The city's planning committee approved the Official Plan amendment and rezoning applications in April, after two days of of often acrimonious public hearings.
Sudbury businessman Tom Fortin, of the casinofreesudbury.com website, is named in all the appeals of each decision, as is the Sudbury Business Improvement Area.
Local activist John Lindsay, through the Minnow Lake Restoration Group, is appealing the rezoning to allow a parking lot on the site; religious leader Christopher Duncanson-Hales is appealing the Official Plan amendment to permit the casino, as well as the rezoning required to permit the casino. Activist Steve May is appealing the rezoning to permit a public arena.
The groups are fighting to stop the casino from being built on the site – located along the eastern end of the Kingsway, across from Levesque Street -- as well as city council's decision to move the arena from downtown Sudbury to the Kingsway.
Fortin has led a fundraising campaign to help fund the appeals, which are being handled by Gordon Petch of Municipal Law Chambers. A summary of their appeals document is available here.