Public hearing made a difference
Re: Casino project a bust, Jan. 22.
Thank you, Mayor Dianne Watts, for having the courage to make the right choice when you cast the deciding vote on the South Surrey casino proposal.
You continue to prove you are a true leader.
Michael Graydon, BCLC CEO, acted like a spoiled child and poor loser when he stated “Surrey’s very difficult to deal with” and “We will pack our bags and move on,” (Anywhere-but-Surrey mandate, Jan. 24)
Well, good riddance, Mr. Graydon. You obviously thought the casino was a done deal and didn’t consider for a moment that some councillors and the mayor just might listen to the residents and that the public-hearing process might be more than just a façade.
Gaming minister Rich Coleman’s unprofessional interference in the process, by making personal calls to councillors and giving Surrey an ultimatum (Minister’s intervention ‘inappropriate,’ Jan. 24) showed the degree of dirty politics that the residents were up against.
We are all busy, but if we are passionate about our neighbourhood issues and take the time to attend public hearings we can make a difference.
Anna Dean, Surrey
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As a resident of Surrey, I was thoroughly disappointed in the decision by mayor and council not to proceed with the proposed South Surrey entertainment complex.
I was able to attend both nights of the public hearings and do not understand the rationale of the decision.
In light of the comments made by gaming minister Rich Coleman, that Surrey would receive no other casino applications, I felt it prudent to voice my opinion and ask why the mayor and council voted against this project.
In 2010, when rezoning was proposed, there was support for this plan. Now, in 2013, there is still support.
The only difference now is there are a few ‘passionate and engaged’ residents who have come forward.
If I heard correctly at the hearings, they mentioned they represented 5,000 residents who signed their petition. Of the 450,000-plus residents of Surrey, and 75,000-plus in the area of South Surrey, 5,000 is less than 15 per cent of South Surrey and less than two per cent of Surrey.
I refuse to believe that the mayor and council, who are responsible for the best interests of the entire city, succumbed to needs of the few, so I am confused as to what other reasons there were for rejecting this proposal.
Of the 70-plus speakers against the project, the majority mentioned they were not opposed to the project, just this location. Some even mentioned this is not a case of NIMBYism, but they mentioned relocating the project to City Centre, Port Kells, and Scott Road.
How can this not be viewed as NIMBYism?
The majority of them mentioned the city needs these types of amenities. Even the mayor agreed. In light of the comments made by Coleman, and even inferred by one councillor who said it may take over 10 years to attract an offer such as this, how is the city going to continue this and pay for everything it has done or needs to do?
James Park, Surrey
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Kudos to the students from Earl Marriott and Semiahmoo high schools who presented eloquent and convincing arguments against the casino proposal on both evenings of the public hearings. The future is theirs, and the future of our city looks bright in their hands.
Eleanor North, Surrey
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Kudos to Mayor Dianne Watts and Couns. Bruce Hayne, Marvin Hunt, Mary Martin and Judy Villeneuve for saying no to a casino in South Surrey.
Thank you for recognizing the genuineness in the speeches from those who came out to speak against the proposal and for not swaying to the pressure of BCLC.
Words cannot express how relieved I was to hear this news on the morning of Jan. 19. What a cliff-hanger of a week that was, with Part 1 of the casino public hearing on Monday and having to wait until Friday for Part 2 to unfold. But the best part is that it had a happy ending for the future liveability and image of South Surrey and the flora and fauna of the area.
Janice Melody, Surrey