Sudbury mayoral candidate Bill Crumplin has vowed to find out how much Greater Sudbury taxpayers are paying for the Kingsway Entertainment District.
In a press release sent out on Aug. 2, Crumplin stated that he has filed a Freedom of Information request to get copies of all of the agreements entered into between the city, Gateway Casinos, and 1916596 Ontario Limited – the numbered company behind the Jack Nicholas Business park on the Kingsway.
“This is our money Council is spending. It’s in the public’s interest to know exactly what this Council has committed us to," said Crumplin in a news release.
"I’ve asked for copies of an options agreement related to a property transaction between the developer and the City. And I’ve asked for information about whatever other agreements the City has committed to behind closed doors.”
Within the options agreement that Crumplin is speaking of are a cost sharing and roads transfer agreement with private developer 1916596 Ontario Limited and a cost sharing agreement with those participating in the development of the Kingsway Entertainment District for the development of an integrated site plan.
These agreements are contained in a by-law passed by council on Aug. 22, 2017 which authorized the general manager of community development to enter into the above mentioned agreements as well as agreements that, in the opinion of the general manager of community development, may be appropriate to facilitate the Kingsway development.
"While a cost sharing agreement for all parties involved with the Kingsway Development project might at first glance seem to be a reasonable option for taxpayers, the Ontario Municipal Act includes provisions that only allow municipalities to use taxpayer money to provide incentives to private development in certain circumstances," said Crumplin.
"None of those circumstances appear to be in place for the City of Greater Sudbury to pay for the costs of private development proposals."
The mayoral candidate says that Sudbury taxpayers are getting a "raw deal" when it comes to the Kingsway Entertainment District.
“What we know is that if council had followed our Official Plan and opted for a downtown location for a new arena instead of choosing the Kingsway, there would be no need to extend services – roads, water and sewer – to the site," said Crumplin.
"The developer of the industrial subdivision ought to be picking up the full tab for infrastructure to service his property, as per the conditions of subdivision approval. But Council decided to lend a helping hand to the developer, using our taxes.”
Crumplin says that if he's elected mayor he will "clean up this mess" while committing to transparency and openness on council.
“There will be no more back-room deals that funnel public money to private interests," said Crumplin.