Public hearing on south Surrey casino project set to resume
After attracting a large crowd with mixed opinions earlier this week, a public hearing on a proposed $100-million casino and hotel project in south Surrey is about to resume.
Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd. wants to build the resort and entertainment complex near the U.S. border, just off of Highway 99. The proposal includes a 60,000-square-foot gambling floor with slots and tables, a 200-room hotel, a convention centre, and restaurants.
Opponents of the project are worried a gambling facility will have a negative impact on the surrounding community and is not a good fit for the proposed location. The local Semiahmoo First Nation claims it was not properly consulted about the project and could face a financial loss because of its own plans for a casino.
Meanwhile, supporters argue the project will provide employment, keep entertainment dollars in the city, generate revenue for the municipality, and add amenities.
On Monday, nearly 200 people signed up to speak during the start of a public hearing on the project’s gaming licence application. That public hearing was adjourned until today (January 18) at 7 p.m.
“There’s always a few people that come out and make their voices heard but in this case it’s overwhelming the number of people that have come out,” Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts told the Straight by phone today from Ottawa.
“The community of south Surrey is very passionate about their community and how they want to see their community evolve,” she said. “Anything that they’re not happy with, they absolutely will come out and make sure that their voices are heard.”
Watts has been in Ottawa for a national policing conference and was preparing to fly back for tonight’s public hearing at Surrey City Hall. She said council will likely make a decision tonight about the gaming licence application, following the public hearing. The licence is needed for the project to move ahead.
“I won’t make a decision until after I hear all the speakers this evening. That’s one of the reasons that we’re having the public hearing, is to get that input.”