The Legal Appeal 

(Until details of the actual appeal are posted here, we offer this letter from The Sudbury Star April 3, 2018 by Tom Fortin)

Sudbury council did not properly consult on casino.

Dan Melanson ('Casino appeal would be waste of time, resources,' March 31) recently accused the anti-casino lobby of attempting to "subvert the 2012 council decision" regarding the proposed new full casino in Sudbury. He should review his notes from 2012.

The decision made by council in 2012 indicated their willingness to host a casino; however, the original resolution was amended with the words "as approved by council."

There was great fanfare back in 2012 with the expectation we would be receiving a significant piece of free public infrastructure along with any new casino. Council was merely indicating its willingness to entertain proposals that would be considered individually, while retaining the requirement to be "approved by council."

Further, the 2012 council added a caveat to the report sent to the OLG stating there was "latent interest in seeing what amenities might be leveraged as part of this opportunity" and that "council has not adopted an official position on the question of the location for a new facility."

Council intention is verified by the actual legislation, O.Reg.81/12, which clearly states that public consultations and a supporting council resolution should occur after there is a "proposed site." We did not have a proposed site until June 10, 2017.

The bottom line is, the 2012 council had no intention, or legal right, to automatically grant approval to any future proposal from the OLG. Present council has disregarded O Reg. 81/12 completely by not convening public consultations or passing a site-specific resolution of support.

Adding to this distortion of process, city planning staff recently recommended the council planning committee accept the proposed new casino application, which is not surprising, considering they chose to disregard "soci-economic concerns" in their determination.

How can these important concerns be disregarded when they are entrenched in the provincial policy statements and our Official Plan, which are the two key legal documents guiding planning approvals?

There are many opposed to this casino/arena development in our community with a variety of concerns including economic, cultural, social and environmental issues. The environmental concerns include the very real prospect of Lake Ramsey becoming a dead lake resulting from increased salt contamination with the "level of concern" presently at 9.

Did the 2012 resolution remove the right of citizens to express their concerns, including questioning the logic of adding thousands of additional parking spaces to lands within the Lake Ramsey watershed?

The various opposition groups are now consolidating their efforts to increase the chances of stopping this development. In preparation for our appeal, we have commissioned an economic report, planning reports, legal opinions and have retained legal council. We are ready to act following the city council decision on April 10, through Local Planning Appeal Tribunal submissions to the Ontario Municipal Board.

As for funding, along with a separate legal fund campaign for businesses, (which has raised $160,000 of its $250,000 goal), we are asking the citizens of Sudbury to contribute. A GoFundMe campaign was launched this weekend to encourage individual citizens to contribute to the legal appeal. While the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal process is simple, the preparation of the appeal has been extensive, and it is likely the appeals will result in hearings.

Mr. Melanson should understand these efforts do not constitute "an abuse of the system". They are the very reason the appeal system exists.

Tom Fortin - April 3, 2018

Further, here is a 6 minute video of the presentation to the Planning Committee outlining our concerns in relation to PPS, and our official Plan, on March 26th, 2018.

Our legal council is Gordon Petch of Municipal Law Chambers in Oakville, Ontario.

About the Campaign

The Ontario Ministry of Finance ( via the OLG ) has publically stated that a casino must have the support of the host community in order to proceed.

The Casino Free Sudbury campaign provides the opportunity to area businesses to let the Minister of Finance know;

"We believe a full casino is not in the best interests of the City of Greater Sudbury and demand a moratorium be placed on any expansion of casino type gambling facilities in our community.  This includes, changes in size, location, or type of gambling activities. "

We need you, as a business owner, or charity operator, to endorse this message by signing an endorsement letter. Let us be the collective voice of businesses in Sudbury regarding the casino development.

The endorsement letter is confidential and we will make no public disclosure of your endorsement.

Your endorsement letter will be used for lobbying purposes with The Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, Greater Sudbury Mayor and council, and the Ontario Minister of Finance.

NOTE:  There is an option on the endorsement letter to allow use of your logo on the web page, mailings and advertisements.  If you feel strongly about this issue, please consider this option as it will help in recruiting other businesses.

No matter what type of business you own, how small or large, profit, not-for-profit, or charitable, every business in our community will be affected if a full casino is built in our city. Take the time to review the CasinoFACTS and Endorse the Campaign.

How Did We Get here?

On May 15, 2012, the City of Greater Sudbury council passed a resolution to endorse the City of Greater Sudbury as a willing host for a new full casino. The resolution was passed without public consultation and following the resolution, public statements by the city touted the increased revenue to the city, and the prospect of a large piece of public infrastructure ( paid for by the casino) as reasons for their support.

The city did later hold a public information form and conduct an on-line survey, however, no objective data on the effect of casinos in remote locations was presented.   A pdf of the presentation is available HERE.

The Sudbury Chamber of Commerce has never provided its members with objective data concerning casinos. It supports the development of a full casino in Sudbury.

Note: We do not advocate for those business owners who disagree with the position of the chamber in this matter to cancel their membership.  A strong and representative chamber is important to the community. Also, as a member it gives us a voice in influencing chamber positions on this, and other issues.

The bottom Line... 

There has been no investigation, or presentation of objective data concerning the effect a full casino would have on our community. This campaign is about giving local business an opportunity to express their concerns about the effects a full casino will have on our community.