Casino hearing needs venue
An open letter to the City of Surrey.
I am writing concerning the Jan. 14 public hearing that the City of Surrey is expected to chair on the proposed Gateway Casino to be located at 168 Street and 10 Avenue.
This public hearing would hold a great deal of interest to all Surrey residents and, in particular, the residents of South Surrey. I anticipate there will be a minimum of 500 residents who will want to speak. This assumption is based on the last public meeting held on this issue – more than 430 people at Pacific Inn.
As a resident of South Surrey, I am proposing that the public hearing take place in or near South Surrey. Therefore, at present, there are only two locations that could hold a crowd of this capacity.
The Surrey City Hall is not one of these locations. The City of Surrey’s seating capacity is only 169 seats and the standing room outside the city hall chambers would not begin to hold another 200 people safely. Parking would also be an issue.
I would propose the City of Surrey hold the public hearing at either the Pacific Inn, which has seating for 800 people, or the Bell Centre, which has seating for 1,038 people. I believe the Pacific Inn is quite an appropriate location, as it is just across the highway of the proposed location of the proposed casino and the site of the last public meeting.
I would also like to propose the public hearing be televised live on Shaw Cable 4. This will allow everyone who has an interest, but does not necessarily want to speak, to be part of the proceedings without being present. This would help reduce further traffic congestion both on the roadways and hallways, no matter where the hearing is held.
I realize both proposals will entail additional costs and time, however I believe the benefits regarding the safety of all participants is of prime concern to everyone.
Bill Hatton, Surrey
(Editor’s note: Public hearings are broadcast on Shaw and are live-streamed online)