Surrey casino hearing stretches to 2 a.m.
Surrey residents packed a public hearing regarding the fate of a proposed "mega-casino" Monday night. (CTV)
Published Tuesday, January 15, 2013 8:50AM PST
A public hearing to determine whether a controversial “mega-casino” will be built in Surrey will continue after hundreds of people packed into city council chambers Monday.
The crowd appeared divided with arguments for and against the $100-million project. The meeting wasn’t adjourned until around 2 a.m. Tuesday.
The development by Gateway Casinos would be built near 10th Avenue and 168th Street in South Surrey and would include a 60,000-square-foot casino with 600 slot machines, a hotel, and a community theatre.
“Our programming is based on the simple premise that gambling is a legitimate form of adult entertainment, and a personal choice,” a BC Lottery Corporation employee told the crowd.
Some voiced concern that the casino would bring increased crime into the area, while others accused Gateway of bussing its employees to the hearing to publically support the proposal.
“I’m not against casinos, but I’m against this proposed casino because of where you want to place it,” one man told the standing-room-only crowd.
“Gateway is ready to commit to this community for the long-term as an employer, a responsible corporate citizen, and a proud member of the local community,” one woman said.
Because so many people signed up to speak about the proposal, the hearing will continue Friday so everybody can have their say, council said.
“If there’s something that the community thinks that we should be doing in terms of how we weigh our decision, then we need to hear that,” said Surrey Mayor Diane Watts.
After that, council will make a decision on whether it wants the project to go ahead.
The final decision to grant a gaming license lies with BCLC.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Brent Shearer