Anti-Casino Crusader Bernie Simpson Thanks His Supporters For Helping To Kill South Surrey Casino

Mayor Watts Casts Deciding Vote By Rejecting Gateway Proposal

SURREY- Anti-casino crusader and well known personal injury lawyer Bernie Simpson thanked his legion of supporters whom he believes were key in defeating the proposed casino in South Surrey.

“As a result of the efforts of Darmesh Darbar Gurdwara and of Guru Nanak Gurdwara, a significant victory was won by defeating the casino application, the vote being 5-4,” Simpson wrote in a letter to the two largest Sikh temples in Surrey.

“We contribute this win to a large measure to your efforts and also the concern raised by the South Asian communities. Over 3,500 names were gathered on a petition as a result of your combined efforts.”

Surrey City Council voted down a controversial mega casino project after a marathon council session ended early Saturday morning. The proposal was rejected 5 to 4 after a hearing that lasted seven hours, with Mayor Dianne Watts deciding to reject the casino in the tie-breaking vote.

More than 100 people had signed up to speak about the project, which was proposed for a rural area near Highway 99 and 10th Ave. The $100-million complex was to include restaurants, a hotel, theatre and a 60,000 square-foot casino.

Residents at lengthy meetings over the past week voiced their concerns that the casino would invite crime and destroy agricultural land. The meetings were continued over a few days because so many people signed up to speak.

Simpson said the combined population of the residents of Surrey coming from the ethnic communities exceeds 100,000 and he feels Watts listened to their voices!

“The politicians in particular Mayor Watts were quick to realize the implications of continuing to ignore the wishes, needs, and sensitivities of the members of our ethnic community,” Simpson said.

“It is now clear especially in views of the comments of the cabinet members. Rich Coleman, minister in charge of Casinos, Gateway, the developer plus a handful of people said that an “understanding” was reached and pushed this project through regardless of the harm that it would cause to the residents of Surrey in particular, members of the Indo-Canadian community,” Simpson said.

“The situation must never arise again and I would hope that leaders of your ethnic communities would get together to form a council which would express to those making decisions that the concerns of the minorities in Surrey must be listened to.”

Among those voting against the proposal were councillors Bruce Hayne, Judy Villeneuve, Marvin Hunt and Mary Martin on the one party dominated council. Those supporting the proposal included the two Indo-Canadian councillors Barinder Rasode, Tom Gill, Linda Hepner and Barbara Steele, who are now angry about the project being rejected.

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