First Nation talks casino

Re: Semiahmoo ‘prime location’ for casino, Nov. 20.

Editor:

Re: Semiahmoo ‘prime location’ for casino, Nov. 20.

For those of you who attended the Nov. 14 information meeting at the Pink Palace and listened to what the guest First Nations speaker was saying – but didn’t hear the message – please read the referenced article.

Only one speaker addressed this issue during the question and answer session, and was either not heard or people did not realize the implication of what she was saying.

The implications are immense. The unavoidable truth is that casinos and gambling are just too attractive a revenue stream for people to ignore. The numbers don’t lie, and a casino/resort complex is going to be built in South Surrey at some point, come hell or high water, by someone.

If this particular proposal for the Gateway casino is defeated, it will not mean that the issue is dead.

A proposal will move to a new location, possibly one where there is less or no public input and revenues are not shared with the City of Surrey, the revenues are not subjected to the same taxation as it would be on public land and the city and people of B.C. would be paying for the improvements to infrastructures surrounding the development instead of the developer.

What do you think a casino south of 8 Avenue at 160 Street would do to the waterfront, property values, traffic, etc.? It is even closer to homes, schools, beaches, recreation, etc.

How much dialogue happened between the First Nation there and the community before the six-foot chain-link fence went up along Marine Drive barring the community from access to the park there? How much voice do you think you would have in a development there?

It may be time to think about choosing between the lesser of evils and considering the options.

It may be time to ask for changes and concessions for the Gateway proposals that will benefit the community at large, instead of killing it only to face a new development where there is no chance for dialogue with the developers.

If Gateway is in possession of 25 acres and is developing only 18, that means seven acres for parks, small shops, play field, small outdoor amphitheatre or something else.

If the six-storey car park is too obtrusive, there are other alternatives to building upwards. If the car park is built outwards or partially in ground, and the roof of the structure is left available, many things can be done on the top of structures, such as including shops, green spaces and public areas.

Arguments against the social evils of gambling are pointless. It is a legal business, just as tobacco and alcohol are.

Access to gambling is as easy as going to a corner store or firing up your computer, so don’t kid yourself that by stopping this casino development you are helping to solve a social problem.

Instead, you are better to ask for more help for those affected by gambling, ask for increased awareness programs, demand more of the profits be used for these kinds of initiatives.

Asking for gambling to go away is just not realistic. You may as well ask at the same time for the liquor stores and pubs to be shut down and the government to ban smoking altogether and stop taking tax revenues from these products and activities.

The article cited is a wake-up call. Let’s be careful not to cut our noses off to spite our faces.

It may be worth exploring and discussing and demanding changes to the Gateway development to benefit the people of South Surrey/White Rock while we have an opportunity to do so.

If this proposal is defeated now, we may win this battle only to ultimately lose the war with far greater damaging and debilitating consequences.

So think about instead of saying ‘no,’ think about saying ‘OK, but we want…’ and what those wants might be.

Scott Keddy, White Rock

• • •

The Nov. 20 edition of the Peace Arch News has considerable data regarding the proposed casino to be built at 10 Avenue and 168 Street.

You seem to give a great deal of attention to the Semiahmoo Indian Band (Band ‘always open to casino), or as they like to be called, First Nation.

I believe that despite their frequent quotations about their Aboriginal rights, this band is actually an immigrant band being split off the Lummi Indian Tribe of Washington State. To have Aboriginal “rights,” a group of Indians has to have occupied their claimed territory from “time immemorial,” whatever that happens to be.

This is not really a unique situation, as there are several Indian bands or First Nations in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The Saskatchewan bands were Sioux who were being chased by the U.S. Army after Sitting Bull cleaned up on Gen. Custer.

David G. Sparks, Surrey

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

It remains to be seen how tourism dollars announced this week will help in White Rock. (Sterling Cunningham file photo)
White Rock officials question if tourism relief will come soon enough

For business, budget ‘feels more like a placeholder,’ says chamber head

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
South Surrey, White Rock MLAs call Tuesday’s provincial budget ‘disappointing’

MLAs Stephanie Cadieux and Trevor Halford say residents are getting less for more

Memorial for Travis Selje on 64th Avenue in Cloverdale, west of 176th Street. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Epilepsy-defence driver found not guilty in crash that killed Surrey teen Travis Selje

Accused testified she has no recollection of the crash and believes she had an epileptic seizure that caused the collision

(File photo)
Three young girls followed while walking home from school, Surrey police say

RCMP say suspect took off after girls went into nearby store for help

Black smoke rises above Highway 17 in Surrey on Thursday. (Fraser Valley Road Report Facebook)
Fire sends thick black smoke above Surrey industrial area

Firefighters say blaze burning just off of Tannery Road and Highway 17 in Surrey

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Firefighters carry equipment from the scene of Monday’s Willoughby fire. The April 19, 2021 blaze turned the Alexander Square development at the corner of 208th Street and 80th Avenue to rubble. (Rob Wilton/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley Fire: The aftermath of the inferno

The scene remains active as investigators work to determine a cause

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read