White Rock mum on nearby casino plan

 Semiahmoo First Nation councillor Joanne Charles appeals to White Rock council to consider the band
Semiahmoo First Nation councillor Joanne Charles appeals to White Rock council to consider the band's concerns about a lack of consultation when commenting to Surrey about the proposed South Surrey casino.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photo

When it comes to a proposal for a casino in South Surrey, there’s little White Rock officials can say that will make a difference, the city’s mayor said Monday.

“It’s on their property, their land,” Wayne Baldwin told Peace Arch News shortly after council’s vote to simply receive Surrey’s request for comment.

“They control it, we get nothing from it. We hope there’s some positive impact economically.”

Comment from White Rock on a gaming licence application for the project –proposed as part of a development eyed for 10 Avenue and 168 Street – is among missing information noted by the City of Surrey last week in announcing a delay in plans to discuss the application.

It had been scheduled for discussion during Surrey council’s land-use meeting Nov. 26, but was bumped back to Dec. 10.

In addition to White Rock’s comments, Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said the city is waiting for comment from the Township of Langley, and that more time is needed to review and analyze letters from residents and other members of the public, and to “consider the comments that have been received from the Semiahmoo First Nation.”

As well, they need to review a socio-economic impact study by the B.C. Lottery Corporation and a finalized traffic-impact study.

At the start of White Rock’s Nov. 26 council meeting, SFN councillor Joanne Charles appealed to the seven politicians to consider the band’s concerns in any comments that do go forward. Those concerns have been taken to the premier, she noted.

“We did address the premier with regards to our situation,” Charles said.

“Nobody has engaged with us with regard to consultation. I would just ask that you consider that.”

Baldwin told PAN there would have been more to comment on had the casino been proposed for a site closer to the city’s boundaries, for example, along 16 Avenue. At its closest, the proposed project would be eight blocks east of White Rock, just past Highway 99.

While opponents have cited concern with the potential for crime and social problems, Baldwin said such issues are Surrey’s to deal with.


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