Work on Sudbury’s Kingsway Entertainment District development has been paused prior to the site grading stage at the request of Gateway Casinos and Entertainment.
Site grading at the long-planned project, which was approved by Sudbury City Council in September 2021, was scheduled to start on November 29 but CBC News reports the city received an email from Gateway asking to put the work on hold in light of “significant risks”.
Gateway is a major partner on the planned arena and event centre complex, which is slated to include a new casino. The company told the city it “remains supportive” of the project but said it could not invest significant money in the next phase of the project until some issues are resolved.
“Despite all of our efforts, the KED project continues to be challenged by significant risks,” said Jagtar Nijjar, executive vice president of development and construction at Gateway, per CBC. Those risks are suggested to include a legal challenge from Minnow Lake Restoration Group and an Ontario Provincial Police investigation.
“Given this uncertainty around the project, it is not commercially reasonable for Gateway to continue to provide additional significant funding to the next phase of the project until these ongoing challenges are resolved and the entire scope of the project is confirmed to be moving ahead,” added the email from Gateway.
The city said it is working closely with the developer and Gateway to ensure work can begin as soon as possible. Mayor Brian Bigger said the city remains committed to the project, as do the partners, noting that Gateway has already spent about $3.9 million on the project.
City councillor Robert Kirwan said Gateway’s decision is likely a “wise move” and didn’t consider it to be an indication that the project might be in danger of being nixed, per CBC.