SOUTH SURREY (NEWS1130) – About 300 people showed up to a town hall meeting last night to talk about the mega-casino and entertainment centre planned for South Surrey. Representatives from BCLC, Gateway Casinos, and the City of Surrey were there to respond to questions.

At the start of the meeting, the representative for Gateway claimed that feedback from a previous information meeting showed that a majority of people support the project.

The packed room of people at the Pacific Inn jeered in response, showing a majority of the people in attendance didn’t want the multi-million dollar project to go ahead.
Rick, who is a farmer in South Surrey, was one of a dozen speakers. He’s worried the project will damage agricultural land and ruin the look and feel of his community.

“Entry into Canada — putting a facility like this right as you come across the border… this makes us look like every other cheap money-grubbing little town all the way down the I-5,” he argues.

“It is good agricultural land. If you pave it over, it is gone forever,” he adds.

Ross says he’s tired of hearing the casino will be good for the local economy, when it may actually kill small businesses. “I’m sick and tired of hearing BC gambling tell us how blessed we are… and the White Rock Chamber of Commerce tell us businesses in this community support this casino.”

“I’m a businessman and I don’t support it. Neither do a lot of others. If [they] understood how casinos take profits from one profit centre and transfer to subsidize low rates for room rates and low rates for food…if  I was a restaurateur or hotelier in this community, I’d be very, very concerned about the future and what it would look like,” he notes.

Others are worried about a potential growth in organized crime and money-laundering because of the casino.
“Richmond sees a rash of casino-related crime. The investigations have heavily taxed the RCMP resources and there’s just more and more… My concern [is] while there are all sorts of rules and regulations in the casino [is they] say ‘Oh yeah, we abide by all the rules and we’re doing everything right,’ [but the] RCMP say the BC casinos are not checking on their patrons backgrounds,” warns Mary.