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Lawyer Bernie Simpson Leads Campaign Opposing Massive South Surrey Casino

SURREY – Well known personal injury lawyer Bernie Simpson, who is well regarded for his work in the local South Asian community, is leading the charge against a planned massive casino complex developed in South Surrey by Gateway, which Surrey City Council is about to reject or approve.

Simpson feels that if this project goes ahead, it will have devastating consequences on families particularly those in the Indo-Canadian – South Asian-Muslim communities.

“As the former member of the legislature for Vancouver-Fraserview, I had the opportunity of fighting a similar battle in 1994 together with other members of the Legislature, a battle we were successful in winning,” Simpson told the LINK.

A public meeting is scheduled for Monday January 14, 2013 at Council Chamber at City Hall located at 14265 56 Avenue, Surrey, BC at 7:00 p.m.

Simpson along with other opponents have begun a petition opposing the Gateway casino, which he is urging community-minded people to sign. The petition can be found at www.surreyratepayersassociation.com .

Simpson, an Order of Canada recipient, said let there be no doubt about it, the development of the casino will be destructive to homes within the Indo-Canadian, South Asian and Muslim communities.

“Study after study has shown that the harm far outweighs the benefits,” he said.

“Many of the homes within the community are having difficulty making ends meet, families are under continuing stress as is evident by well publicized reporting of domestic violence, drinking problems, and of course there are the numerous gang wars and there’s no way we can keep those gangs away from this proposed casino.”

And what are the benefits? Already, those proponents of this casino are backtracking. Originally, they said it would be $6 million a year and now they admit that it is probably closer to $3 million, Simpson said.

“Short term jobs? Yes. But at what expense? Millions of dollars will have to be spent in developing the infrastructure. Who will pay that?,” he said.

Simpson said let’s not forget, Gateway Casino and others associated with this project have contributed over $24,000 to the party which is now running Surrey and some of the members of Council.

“Those members say that political contributions won’t sway votes on City Council. Of course they sway votes!,” he said.

“These political contributions are a blatant attempt to get support for this project.

“As the former “bag man” for the NDP in the 70’s and 80’s, I know that corporations do not give contributions, and for that matter unions also, without expecting something in return.

“Of course they don’t say that. They say that they are supporting the “democratic process”. Now let’s not kid ourselves.”

The fact is, the City of Surrey planning and development report just recently released points to the exact opposite of what the casino has been saying about its purported support, Simpson said.

City wide response from Surrey was 3,220 opposed and 635 (16%) in support and within a 5km radius, the City’s figures show support at only 124 with 2,045 in opposition, he said.

“Time is running out to oppose this odious project which will have a profound effect on future generations within the Indo-Canadian and Muslim communities,” Simpson said

“I urge all the leaders of the community, the Presidents of Gurdwaras, social welfare agencies, newspapers, to do everything possible to stop this project which will harm our children.”

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