Split decision

Readers comment further on the South Surrey casino decision.

Editor:

Following the media coverage since the rejection of the South Surrey casino complex, it appears the opponents are now shifting to the face-saving phase.

The initial reported objections warrant some comments.

I wonder how many of the opponents had reviewed with an open mind the City of Surrey’s Highway 99 corridor outline and the comprehensive submission of the proposed development – or was it just based on hype.

Increase of gambling-related crime was one objection. The submission addressed the crime rate in various existing casino areas, indicating some slight or no increase. Fraser Downs area actually had a crime decrease.

Infrastructure was expressed as a concern. The submission included existing and future traffic studies, which did not appear out of line, and also allocated funding.

The Highway 99 corridor has been in a five-year developing phase, with much more to come. One would assume the infrastructure requirements had been addressed by the various city departments and appropriate recommendations had been provided.

Environmental damage and loss of rural area was listed as another item. Again, it should have been considered by the departments. Why wasn’t it a problem with developments that started five years ago? Perhaps people with concerns should raze their structures and return the land to the rural area from where it was taken not so long ago.

As for ‘chump change’ revenue, over a relative short time span of 10 years the benefit to the city could well be over $200 million – initial development costs, casino revenue, benefit of 500 permanent jobs, additional related developments, city business and property taxes, and goods and services related to daily operations of the complex.

One would assume the city has no objections receiving this type of ‘chump change’ for the benefit of the general community.

T. Furch, Surrey

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I’m writing to thank Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts for her wisdom in rejecting the casino.

‘If you build it, they will come’ doesn’t necessarily apply in our economy today. Has anyone not noticed the number of established businesses that are closing doors?

A lot of families are finding it a challenge to feed, clothe and keep shelter over their heads.

People need to be heard and have positive input in their lives to stay productive and hopeful. Take a walk around this Surrey property and share in the pleasure of nature, birds, animals and maybe a pleasant conversation with the neighbors.

If gambling is your thing, do it in gaming minister Rich Coleman’s neighborhood. There, you and your hard-earned money will be welcomed with open arms.

B. Kilpatrick, White Rock