Peace Arch News

South Surrey complex to be ‘more than a casino’

The casino and hotel complex proposed by Gateway Casinos and Entertainment  for a site at 10 Avenue and 168 Street would also include an 800-seat theatre and a 27,000 sq. ft convention and conference area that would be adaptable for use by both large and smaller groups. - Contributed photo
The casino and hotel complex proposed by Gateway Casinos and Entertainment for a site at 10 Avenue and 168 Street would also include an 800-seat theatre and a 27,000 sq. ft convention and conference area that would be adaptable for use by both large and smaller groups.
— image credit: Contributed photo

A planned South Surrey casino complex would be about a lot more than gaming, according to Gateway Casinos and Entertainment community liaison Tanya Gabara.

Gabara, together with the company’s general counsel James Chen, offered a preview of Gateway’s South Surrey plans Thursday morning at Langley’s Cascades Casino.

The plans show a landscaped complex that – in addition to a 60,000 sq. ft. gaming floor – would provide an 800-seat theatre, a convention and entertainment zone (at 27,000 sq. ft., it would be the largest facility of its kind in Surrey), a 200-room, four-star hotel, four restaurants and three lounges.

The site would be 18 acres of a 25-acre parcel at 10 Avenue and 168 Street, and the price tag for the proposed development – to be designed by internationally-noted casino architects Steelman and Partners – is $100 million.

The BC Lottery Corporation has suggested the complex, if approved by the City of Surrey, could be open as soon as late 2014 or early 2015.

Chen and Gabara are more conservative in their projections, but said, given all approvals and a smooth construction process, the complex could be up and running some 18 months after the ground is broken.

The public will have its first chance to view renderings and plan details, ask questions, and fill out comment forms at an information meeting scheduled for Nov. 7, 6-9 p.m. at Hazelmere Golf and Tennis Club, 18150 8 Ave.

A community forum for comment will also be available online for an extended period, Gabara and Chen added.

While the proposed complex is yet to be approved by the City of Surrey, an important bargaining chip is that – according to Gateway and BCLC projections – it could produce some $6 million in revenues annually for Surrey alone.

The overall estimated annual revenue for all levels of government would be some $60 million, Chen noted.

With what would be the largest live venue of its kind in Surrey, they said, the emphasis would definitely be more on entertainment – and larger higher-end acts – as opposed to competing for business with Cloverdale’s Fraser Downs, which, Gabara said, is developing a different, more “sports-centric” focus.

Gabara, whose base is currently the Cascades, said an important part of Gateway’s business, which currently includes 10 casino-entertainment centres in B.C. and two in Alberta,  is developing a strong relationship with the communities in which the complexes are located, including having management members serve as directors in local business associations, making facilities available to community groups and participating in local events and charities.

While the planned location of the new proposal is in South Surrey, White Rock would not be left out of such a scenario, she promised.

“We recognize that we’re very close in proximity to White Rock, and we’d be making

the same contributions to White Rock that we make to South Surrey,” she said.

“As far as we’re concerned, White Rock and South Surrey are part of the same community that we need to make sure we’re serving.”

New meeting added

The organizer of  a community meeting on the casino, hotel and entertainment complex proposed for South Surrey has added another meeting due to “overwhelming response.”

The original meeting will go ahead Nov. 7, 7:30-8:30 a.m. at the ABC Restaurant, 2160 King George Blvd.

Susan Keeping, the BC NDP candidate for the election next spring, will be hold another meeting from noon to 2 p.m., Nov. 4 at Semiahmoo Fish and Game Club 1284 184 St.

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