Greater Sudbury is holding a public meeting Oct. 10 to provide an update on plans to build a casino in the city, when a local developer plans to unveil details of his company’s proposal to build the facility at the corner of Elm and Lorne streets.
Richard Diotte, a spokesperson for Citadel Developments and Leasing Corp., said his company has a $20-million plan to build a casino, five-star hotel, parking garage and convention centre/auditorium that can accommodate about 1,000 people. He’s been told the meeting is Oct. 10, but few other details have been released.
“The city is hosting an open house for casino proponents (although) we haven’t seen it advertised yet,” Diotte said. “It’s the public meeting. From what we understand, there’s going to be a presentation from the city outlining where things are with the OLG.”
Diotte was unsure if he and other casino proponents will be making formal presentations at the Oct. 10 meeting, saying he’s waiting to hear details from the city.
“They haven’t quite flushed out what the format will be,” he said. “We really don’t know. We haven’t been told yet.”
A press release from the city issued Oct. 4 said the meeting will be held from 5-9 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., there will be a formal presentation in the foyer of Tom Davies Square, 200 Brady St.
“The new gaming model adopted by the province provides opportunity to our city,” said Greater Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk in the press release. “We encourage citizens to share their comments and ideas about potential locations for an expanded casino and complementary investments that could be packaged with an expanded facility.”
Anyone who can't attend the meeting can offer their thoughts online from Oct. 10-17 at greatersudbury.ca.
In the spring, the province announced it was ending its agreement with racetracks – including Sudbury Downs – that saw slots facilities located at tracks in return for a share of gambling profits. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is looking to build full-fledged casinos in gaming zones across the province, including Sudbury.
City council has identified four sites in the city as areas where operators have expressed interest in building the casino: the current Downs site in Chelmsford, downtown Sudbury, the South End and The Kingsway.
The OLG is currently accepting applications from operators interested in running the casinos. Diotte said casino operators have been in contact with them as they search for potential locations for the casino. Citadel hopes to partner with a casino operator and is offering its plan either to sell to an operator, or to build and own the site in agreement with an operator.
Diotte said Citadel Developments, the company run by his father, L.R. Diotte, is proposing a five-star hotel, casino and convention centre for their Elm Street project. If approved, Citadel would have to buy some land from the city to move forward with its proposal.
“Our plan is not to be the operators,” Diotte said. “We’re suggesting our site. The OLG, through its process, will decide who the operators are. They haven’t done that yet.”
He said the OLG is expected to choose a short list of operators sometime before Christmas, then move on to the site selection process in the spring. “Then they’re going to come back to the operators and say … put together your package,” Diotte said. “So we’ve got our site, and we’re trying to promote our site.”
Citadel has met with some members of city council, as well as the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Village Development Corporation, to promote its plan. So far, the reception has been good, Diotte said.
“They’re all interested … but it’s early in the process,” he said. “And our thinking is, we’ll put ours out there first and you can measure the rest against ours.”