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Sudbury arena and casino debate moves to the provincial planning tribunal

The debate about a new arena and casino in Sudbury is before a provincial court today.

Local Planning Appeal Tribunal will meet with both sides of the argument for the first time in Sudbury Tuesday morning.

On the one hand, the city of Greater Sudbury, which approved the plans earlier this year and the developer Dario Zulich, made the planning application.

They will meet five groups who raised the appeal to the new provincial body, replacing the Ontario Municipal Board earlier this year.

The appeals are from the Corporate Improvement Association, Tom Fortin, Sudbury Planner, and the May May activist, Minnow Lake Restoration Group and Christopher Duncanson-Hales, representing 36 religious leaders in the city.

Tuesday will only be a preliminary meeting, without resolution to the expected argument. But here's what you should know about how that decision will be taken.

first Do not expect a decision until the new year

The law that created the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal or LPAT gives the body 1

0 months to respond after an appeal is filed.

It would set deadline for Sudbury Arena and Casino Projects in June. But the panel of judges supervising the tribunal has several options to pause the game clock, especially if the two sides agree on mediation.

2nd The final decision may not be taken by LPAT

The Associated President James McKenzie, the Tribunal, said that if the court rejected the appeal, the City Council would have the decision and the Kingsway Entertainment District would go as planned.

However, unlike the Ontario City Council, which would bridge cities and cities with a final decision by itself, this court will instead bounce political potato back to the Greater Sudbury City Council if it complies with the appeals.

"If it is found that the appeals have merits, the case would be returned to the council for review and a new decision," said McKenzie.

And even then, any of the sides of this debate still have the opportunity to request a court to review the decision.

3rd This hearing will be much less like a trial

In the old municipal administration in Ontario a hearing was much like a criminal trial, with a judge who played the role of judge, lawyer who made arguments and questioned witnesses.

McKenzie says that the LPAT hearing will be "very different", with only the tribunal itself allowed to call and review the witnesses.

Mark Simeoni, a former Sudbury city planner and former employee of the Ontario Municipal Council, said the new process is about collecting information,

"The LPAT member would call a planner like myself if they need clarification about something in the written record, but does not try to shake a person from their opinion, "says Simeoni.

4th The tribunal will focus on whether the city council was consistent

Simeoni says that most planning committee meetings draw residents who are concerned about environmental impact or increased traffic from a proposed project.

However, he says that the tribunal is obliged to base its decision only on whether the city consistently followed its planning rules, as specified in the official plan, provincial policy and other planning documents.

Simeoni says unlike the old city council not to decide if the city has a good policy but whether it follows these policies or not.

"And so, most will get a link between what motivates them to come out and what LPAT's rules will be when considering an application," he says.

5th There is a lot of unknown with a new process

Although the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal process is statutory, it has not been tested until now.

McKenzie says about half a dozen appeal is working their way through the process now, but nobody has reached an audience stage yet.

"It's important for everyone to be patient, because it's a new process. We as an institution teach us and work for ourselves through the process and gain more experience of each one we do," he says.

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