Residents debate the odds of a proposed convention centre/casino being a positive development for South Surrey.

Residents debate the odds of a proposed convention centre/casino being a positive development for South Surrey.

They’re gambling with our future

Editor:

Re: Casino/crime correlation queried, Dec. 13 letters.

Editor:

Re: Casino/crime correlation queried, Dec. 13 letters.

Letter-writer Andrew Johnston says he is stunned by disbelief at the naïveté shown by opponents of the proposed casino in South Surrey.

He is correct to say prohibition did not work with alcohol. Is it equally correct to say promoting alcohol, tobacco, other drugs and gambling at every opportunity will work out just fine? Most would not suggest they would like to encourage an additional addiction among family members who already overindulge.

No adult who wants to gamble has any impediment to doing so now. Cloverdale is a 10-minute drive away. But, locating the biggest shrine to gambling in Surrey near one of our finest residential neighborhoods, within a precious semi-rural area, is poor land use and excessive dependence on gambling by the City of Surrey.

It’s not just about individual choice. It takes a community to raise a child – and to create a healthy place for all of us.

Alisa Wilson, Surrey

• • •

We’re told: a) casinos don’t attract crime; b) casinos increase sales for established businesses and increase tourism; and c) we don’t have enough of them already.

Is this not what we are asked to believe in South Surrey, as we listen to those who have everything to gain tell us?

And, from what some have stated, those opposed to this proposal are either delusional or myopic.

Citizens wonder how this could not be a ‘done deal.’

However, for the sake of appearances, let’s assume the opinion of citizens and those who make their family homes here are actually of interest to decision-makers.

Do casinos cause crime? Anyone with a computer can easily access statistics from cities in the U.S. and Canada. Gambling is a natural target for criminals because of the large amount of cash. The sheer volume of money generated through gambling makes it a target for various types of criminals, notably loan sharking.

For our business community: casinos have been found in other communities to attract business away from other established local restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. Benefits of entertainment complexes anchored by casinos are highly questionable  – casinos spell out short-term gain for long-term pain.

What is most likely to draw sustainable tourism in this area? Is it not our parks, beaches, scenery, wildlife, art galleries, theatres, waterfront restaurants and gift shops and that it is a truly wonderful place to raise families?

Presently, we have at least nine casinos in the area, one for every 235,000 adults in the Lower Mainland, hence the market is sufficiently saturated.

What can we do as citizens? We need to simply say “no.” It would be a refreshing change if the powers that be actually listen to those who reside in this community.

C. Wharton, Surrey

Band-aid solution

The locals who are against the Gateway Casinos development on 168 Street at 10 Avenue should be careful of what they wish for.

Should that development proposal be turned down, the Semiahmoo Indian Band could do what other native bands have done and build their own casinos on their own land, which happens to be right at White Rock’s front door. No input, surveys or referendums required from nearby residents and all casino proceeds going only to the band.

G. Reid, Surrey