Kingsway Entertainment District on Shaky Ground
The area where the Kingsway Entertainment District is to be built, in Sudbury, may be geologically unstable. Impartial geologist David Wood, who works as a rock engineer and a consultant, has studied the area carefully. He reports that there is an active fault line passing directly through the area.
The Latest in a Line of Issues
The business plan for the Entertainment District project has already faced criticism, so the concern over its location is just another hurdle for its developers to face. Catherine Matheson, general manager of community development in Sudbury, said recently that she expected a memorandum of understanding regarding site preparations costs. There is concern over how these costs will be shared, and Matheson said the memorandum should to be finalized within the coming weeks.
Warning to Sudbury Council
Wood studied the database on all Canada-based earthquakes, and discovered that 850 seismic events have occurred in Sudbury. Many of these events were related to the region’s mining activity, but 14 were natural earthquakes. Six of them have taken place since 2015, along a north-south fault line that roughly extends from Garson to Minnow Lake. This is the particular cause of concern for the Entertainment District’s planned casino, arena and hotel.
Wood has shared his concerns with the Greater Sudbury Council, saying that although the earthquakes have been small so far (between 1.7 and 22.7 on the Richter Scale) they are significant, and more could occur in the future. Active fault lines that have moved recently can do so again, Wood explained.
Possibly preempting how his report could be received, in light of the other issues surrounding this project, Wood also emphasized that he was not raising the issue as a political act. He added that he felt it was his duty to relay his findings to the city.
Owner and Developer Responds
Dario Zulich, who owns the land and is working on its development, has publicly commented on the issues raised. He said that the project management team would have addressed any possible seismic activity within the region.
The expected memorandum of understanding should outline the cost-sharing agreement between Zulich, the city of Sudbury and Gateway Casinos. Once it is complete, requests for construction design proposals should be rolled out.
There are also 3 companies that have pre-qualified to make an offer on the design; EllisDon Corporation, PCL Constructors Canada Inc, and Zulich’s Ball/Tesc Construction Inc. Zulich’s personal interests in the project are clear, which should be taken into account when interpreting his comments.