DO THE RIGHT THING!
Sep 28, 2021 —
To the Councillors and Mayor of the City of Greater Sudbury
It is astonishing that the recent scandals and revelations surrounding the KED scheme have not halted this project indefinitely but instead on Tuesday, September 28, Council is meeting to possibly approve spending nearly $10 million to begin preparation of the construction site adjacent to the dump in November of this year.
At risk of stating the obvious once again, there are many reasons why this project should be paused and no conceivable reason why it should be pushed forward.
1. There is an ongoing police investigation into allegations of bribery from the developer. This alone is sufficient grounds to lay down shovels.
2. There is a legal challenge into the legality of how the KED approval was rushed through council in July of this year with direct implications pointing back to item 1.
3. THE KED PROJECT IS NOT ACTUALLY FULLY FINANCED.
In any production there is a basic rule: The Financing must equal the Budget before ANY monies are expended. Right now, the budget for the KED is $200 million but the committed financing is only $100 million towards the Arena portion and this contribution entirely from the City of Greater Sudbury. And don't these huge round numbers in themselves seem more than a little suspect? Yet for some (perhaps legitimate) reason, the City has borrowed $200 million to cover the entire cost of the Arena and contributions towards two other as-yet unapproved projects even BEFORE the vote in Council in July of this year, thereby suggesting to me that the decision to approve the PWC report and push the KED forward was a foregone conclusion.
With the KED is under-financed and the Junction East / West projects nebulous in nature, why borrow all this money and incur interest costs now? It has been suggested to me that this borrowing is part of normal municipal government practice but even so, is it good governance?
Given the lack of disclosure from the City and several alarming incidents of unethical behaviour by Council, we have good reason to fear this additional $100 million in borrowed funds presently accruing interest will present a very large temptation to those struggling to plug the $100 million dollar gap in KED financing.
That's because Dario's unappetizing stone soup contains no actual nutritional ingredients. Where is the motocross? Where's the professional water slide? And what of Celine Dion and her Las Vegas Act? Without outside investment to build attractions and facilities, the KED is a white elephant, nothing more than a solitary hockey rink on the outskirts of the city. Does it make sense to begin construction when there is no certainty the other parts of the project will be realized?
And since there is no urgent need for a new Arena, why are we prioritizing this construction during a period of soaring pandemic pricing? What's the big rush? The cost of the site preparation alone has sky-rocketed 16% in two years due to rising costs directly attributable to the crisis yet they're pushing through the construction of a pleasure palace for the middle classes when we should be more concerned about housing those left without even rudimentary shelter due to the same disaster.
On Councillor Kirwan’s Facebook Page, he recently shared a City document that outlines the resolution to prepare the KED site that is the focus of the Tuesday September 28th meeting. Posting this material is probably part of his campaign to make the KED seem like a fait accompli but in so doing, he reveals the kick in the groin to taxpayers. The financing of this $9.4 million Asset Preparation Phase is to be borne entirely by the City with no contribution from Zulich, Gateway or any hotel chain.
This is exactly what the developers want because even if the rest of the project including the Arena falls apart, Mr. Zulich will get us to foot the bill for servicing his unsalable acres while the City's Roads Maintenance Budget lies over $100 million underfunded and the shameful spectacle of misery on our streets remains unaddressed. Some philanthropist, eh?
Despite multiple Freedom of Information requests pending many months, the City has not provided any evidence of actual commitment from the partners supposedly integral to the project financing. Meanwhile Gateway Casino's financial stability has been reduced to junk bond status and let’s face it, there is no hotel chain prepared to sink millions into a property adjacent to the malodorous dump.
We have to stop the insanity!
4. To that end, I am the co-originator of a popular online poll that legitimately claims over 2500 verifiable Sudbury residents committed in their fervent opposition to the KED and there are a further thousand signatures (rough estimate) on paper. In total these signatures represent the equivalent of seven percent of votes cast in the last municipal election. Alarmed by its import, one City Councillor recently breached the Council's Code of Conduct by signing the online petition using a false name (any guesses who?) in an attempt to discredit this appeal to Council and the wishes contained within but the intelligent objections of these petitioners as well as their numbers speak volumes. Check them out: www.change.org/stoptheKED
5. A rival pro-KED poll on change.org has failed to secure even 500 signatures. There is no proof of popular support for this looney scheme.
6. As Ian Berdusco has already so brilliantly demonstrated, the vast majority of letters (over 80% in the Sudbury media) oppose the KED while the majority of letters written in support of the KED were reliably authored by Councillor Kirwan who has now been twice reprimanded for his unethical conduct by the Integrity Commissioner.
7. There are more deeply disturbing Climate Change, Water Poisoning, Civic Planning, Urban Transit, Fiscal Responsibly RED ALERT flags generated by the KED than can reasonably be addressed here.
No KED site development should be undertaken until investigations and legal challenges are concluded.
The greed of developers has caused too much division in this city already. A referendum is the only responsible answer. But until then, not a single stone should be turned on this suspect site until any concealed conspirators crawling under its rocks are revealed and held to account for their actions.
Councillors, we appeal to you all to do the right thing.
You know what that is.
Keep fighting for people power!
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