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Kirwan: Time for anti-KED activists to get over it

Says provincial appeals body may amend, but won't overturn, city's decision
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In a statement released Wednesday, Ward 5 Coun. Bob Kirwan said the legal challenges launched to stop the Kingsway Entertainment District should be withdrawn.

The man who loves to raise the hackles of people fighting the Kingsway Entertainment District is at it again.

In a statement released Wednesday, Ward 5 Coun. Bob Kirwan said the legal challenges launched to stop the project are being heard by the new Local Planning Appeals Tribunal, and, unlike the OMB, are mandated to give more weight to local decisions.

So while there may be some changes, Kirwan says the appeals will not stop the project. 

“There is really nothing left to fight over,” he writes. “The LPAT is not the same process as that used by the OMB. The decisions made by city council to accept the applications to amend the Official Plan and rezone the property will eventually be accepted under the LPAT.”

He called on those appealing the decision to withdraw their appeals so people hoping to get one of the new 250 unionized jobs at the casino can have hope.

“Why should the people in this city who are counting so much on those jobs have to suffer longer than necessary?” Kirwan said. “A large number of my constituents in Ward 5 are looking forward to the hundreds of jobs that will be created once the KED is fully developed with a new arena/event centre, a new casino and a new hotel. 

“Unfortunately, this hope is being shattered by all of the political posturing and legal wrangling that is going on over the applications for the Official Plan amendment and the rezoning which would allow the KED to move forward into the construction phase. These people who are depending on the new jobs are devastated that they may have to wait an additional year or more longer because of the appeals that have been made to LPAT.”

He also criticized residents who are attacking city councillors for voting in favour of the KED, while promoting a slate of anti-Kingsway candidates. 

“There is nothing to be gained by trying to elect enough people who are anti-arena or anti-casino to council in the hopes of overturning the decision,” Kirwan said. “That just won’t happen. The majority of residents are in favour of what council has done.

“Councillor Signoretti has even scraped the bottom of the barrel by accusing staff, members of the public, and some council members of a clandestine conspiracy to 'fool everyone' and manipulate the decisions of council. This has to stop.”

Full text of Kirwan's statement:

A large number of my constituents in Ward 5 are looking forward to the hundreds of jobs that will be created once the KED is fully developed with a new arena/event centre, a new casino and a new hotel. They have been living week to week with part time and/or precarious employment which is preventing them from escaping a world of poverty. They finally have some hope for a better future for their family.

Unfortunately, this hope is being shattered by all of the political posturing and legal wrangling that is going on over the applications for the official plan amendment and the rezoning which would allow the KED to move forward into the construction phase. These people who are depending on the new jobs are devastated that they may have to wait an additional year or more longer because of the appeals that have been made to LPAT.

We have been fighting over the arena location for almost two years. The decision made by city council through a vote of 10-2 put in motion the steps that have brought us to the point we are at today. The site preparation is starting and all we need to do is get through the LPAT process to begin construction. 

There is really nothing left to fight over. The LPAT is not the same process as that used by the OMB. The decisions made by city council to accept the applications to amend the Official Plan and rezone the property will eventually be accepted under the LPAT. 

I say that it is time for the five appellants to withdraw the 12 appeals they have filed and let this city move forward into the greatest transition period that this city has ever experienced. Why should the people in this city who are counting so much on those jobs have to suffer longer than necessary?

The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, with their 2018 municipal election platform, entitled Supporting Growth Through Economic Development has called on candidates for Mayor and Council to support the development on the Kingsway as well as the Downtown Arts & Culture District which will include a new library, art gallery, convention & performance centre, Place des Arts, the Elgin Greenway, the Tom Davies Square Courtyard renewal, and a renewed Sudbury Theatre Centre as well as other planned improvements to the downtown. They represent over 900 businesses.

The city has formed a very effective collaborative partnership with three private sector parties to leverage their respective strengths to create what will be the most spectacular facilities of its kind in Ontario. The Kingsway Entertainment District will be one of the showcase attractions in the province and will generate dozens of additional commercial establishments around it over the coming years. It is a project that is going to be valued at over $200 million.

City council voted overwhelmingly by a 10 to 2 margin to approve the location of the arena on the Kingsway so that the KED could become a reality. Council has given staff resounding support all through the process and is also committed to the downtown developments with equal fervor.

There is nothing to be gained by going through weeks more of continued political posturing on the part of candidates trying to discredit current Councillors for making the decision to approve the applications for the KED. There is nothing to be gained by trying to elect enough people who are anti-arena or anti-casino to council in the hopes of overturning the decision. That just won’t happen. The majority of residents are in favour of what council has done.

Councillor Signoretti has even scraped the bottom of the barrel by accusing staff, members of the public, and some council members of a clandestine conspiracy to “fool everyone” and manipulate the decisions of Council. This has to stop.

So, on behalf of the constituents of Ward 5 and of the rest of the city who are waiting anxiously for the hundreds of new jobs that will open up over the next five years as the KED and the downtown developments are completed, I would ask the appellants to do the right thing and withdraw their appeals. All they will end up doing is delaying the progress that this city has waited so long for, and keep the people who can really use the jobs trapped in a world of poverty that much longer.




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