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Surrey’s Loss Of Casino Could Be Gain For Langley Or Native Reserve

The casino project Surrey rejected could go to Tsawassen First Nation instead or to Langley as the mayor of that municipality neighbouring Surrey has expressed interest.

SURREY – The No decision on the South Surrey casino is threatening to tear the one party majority Surrey First team with some councillors, who supported the casino, questioning what happened.

Councillor Linda Hepner is among those who supported the casino and thinks council should have huddled behind closed doors before taking the vote.

“When we’re doing something like that, maybe everyone’s mind at 2 o’clock in the morning… we probably should have caucused to [discuss], ‘What are the kinds of impacts that this is going to have on the city?’”

When asked to describe how last week’s decision has affected the team, she told News 1130, “I don’t think I’d go so far as to use the word ‘rift.’ It has created some questions around how we make some important economic decisions in the city.”

Hepner says council has taken a pass on millions of dollars and thousands of jobs. She wants council to review the steps it took.

However, she says there’s no indication council would revisit its decision.

Meanwhile, the casino project Surrey rejected could go to Tsawassen First Nation instead or to Langley as the mayor of that municipality neighbouring Surrey has expressed interest.

The lottery corporation and the gaming minister still want the mega casino built somewhere south of the Fraser River.

Meanwhile Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, who basically rejected the casino with her deciding vote, says the head of BC Lotteries Michael Graydon owes her an apology for suggesting she acted irresponsibly in the lead up to the recent rejection of a casino project in her city.

“To suggest that I should have voted regardless of public opposition is irresponsible on his account in terms of his comments that he has directed at me,” Watts said. “Every councillor voted the way they felt they needed to vote and that should all be respected.”

Watts was also critical of both Graydon’s boss Rich Coleman, B.C.’s minister responsible for gaming, who had also criticized the council’s decision to reject the casino an had talked to two councillors about an ultimatum on the casino which was seen as interfering in the council’s decision.

Fellow BC Liberal Gordon Hogg (Surrey-White Rock) Coleman’s contact could be interpreted as an attempt to influence the vote.

Coleman’s comments were slammed Tuesday by Hogg, who criticized Coleman’s calls to councillors, including casino supporter Tom Gill as an “intervention” in a land-use process that is “the sole purview of Surrey council.”

But on Friday, Coleman backtracked and sent out a press release with a headline: “Surrey gaming decision proves process works,” he said he wants to “express my appreciation for the time and thoughtfulness Surrey city council and the community as a whole took to examine the merits of the entertainment and gaming complex proposal and to be clear that I respect the final decision.”

Coleman also lauded Surrey council for exercising “its responsibility on behalf of residents by conducting a thorough, open process that led to an independent decision.”

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