Surrey council’s rejection of a proposed casino/hotel/convention centre leaves some letter writers wanting more.

Surrey council’s rejection of a proposed casino/hotel/convention centre leaves some letter writers wanting more.

Unfinished South Surrey business

Editor:

Re: Casino project a bust; Coleman chides city, Jan. 22. Casino hearing ‘not a legal process,’ Jan. 29.

Editor:

Re: Casino project a bustColeman chides city, Jan. 22. Casino hearing ‘not a legal process,’ Jan. 29.

We feel compelled to clarify the development history of the South Surrey Entertainment Complex in light of comments that have been reported following Surrey council’s recent decision on the gaming application:

1. In 2009, the City of Surrey received two separate rezoning and development applications for full service casino and entertainment complexes. Neither had the support of BCLC, and no gaming application was put forth to the city in respect of either application.

2. At a Surrey council meeting on Jan. 10, 2010, council referred the North Surrey proposal back to staff, while giving the go-ahead for the South Surrey project to proceed to public hearing. The North Surrey proposal was effectively stopped at this time.

3. A public hearing for the South Surrey proposal was held on the rezoning on Jan. 25, 2010, and council subsequently approved third reading for the rezoning, which contemplated entertainment uses including a gaming facility – clearing a very significant land-use hurdle to the location of a gaming facility at this site.

4. Gateway bought the South Surrey property in early 2012 and, following input from BCLC and the city, refined the original proposal. The project received the support of BCLC, and a formal application pursuant to gaming control legislation was submitted to the city last October to relocate our Newton facility to South Surrey.

The history of the South Surrey project was well reported in the press and is a matter of public record.

The public-information process that began last fall, and which culminated in the “public information meeting in the form of a public hearing” last month before Surrey city council, was governed by gaming control legislation, which requires the city to obtain adequate community input prior to approving a gaming facility. This process is separate and apart from rezoning matters which are governed under separate local government legislation.

James Chen, Gateway Casinos & Entertainment

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There’s been a lot of media coverage of the proposed – and now rejected – casino/convention centre/hotel project. It’s hard to tell from the coverage whether the project was rejected primarily because it included a gaming component or whether the whole concept of a convention centre in that location was rejected.

I wonder what the acceptance and rejection rates would be like if the project was family-oriented, including a hotel with a multi-use convention centre and a concert venue of the high calibre they have in Las Vegas.

We would definitely be on the map as an entertainment destination and would no longer have to travel all the way downtown to hear concerts in a hockey rink where the acoustics are not worthy of the performers.

As for the multi-use convention centre, I ask you to envision not only a traditional convention centre but one that can be easily converted into a sportsplex for exhibition games. Our young people could be entertained at home instead of heading to Vancouver.

South Surrey has the attraction of being close to White Rock and its beautiful beaches. What more would a family want for a holiday destination?

Would it be possible to have the best of both worlds – an entertainment destination and jobs for Surrey? And I ask, would it be possible for Surrey and White Rock economic development departments to work together to find developers? It would be great to see the two municipalities acting proactively on a joint project.

Christine Bennet-Clark, White Rock

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We were quite surprised that the casino proposal was rejected so swiftly. We thought, finally here is a chance to attract some business to the White Rock area from the Lower Mainland, as well as from south of the border.

The designated area is far enough away from White Rock that it wouldn’t cause parking problems, congestion, more crime or whatever negative excuses that have been made. We are not “gamblers” so to speak, but we enjoy going to some of the casinos across the line which have great entertainment, good restaurants and generally a festive ambiance.

We saw a lot of positive results for White Rock, which is basically a dying city that keeps putting up house taxes because they have no other prospects for raising money. So again, we were surprised at the lack of enthusiasm and hope it will be brought back again for consideration.

D. Barros, White Rock