After gaining prominence toward the end of 2012, the Now has selected the proposed South Surrey casino and entertainment complex as the south's Hot Button Issue of 2012.
Not only did the issue dominate headlines in the later months of the year, but the amount and depth of the discussions resulting from the controversial project lead to it standing out as a clear favourite for the Hot Button Issue of 2012.
Despite the land already being zoned for the project, opponents argue that the mostly-rural area was not the appropriate place for such a development and that it would detract from the property values of those living nearby.
Finally, anti-gambling advocates are against the gambling aspect of the project, saying that the project would encourage illicit characters to frequent the area.
"If I was a hotel or restaurant operator in the area, I would be very concerned, and I wonder what happened that brought us to a place where we're even considering this monster being put in your community to destroy your neighbourhood," said opponent Russ Buchanan during a public meeting regarding the proposal.
On the other hand, business leaders and proponents hail the project as a boon for Surrey, as it would lead to job creation and millions of dollars of revenue for the city and other businesses. On top of the revenue and jobs, proponents also cite the amenities such as the hotel and entertainment venue that would accompany the project as being a good thing for South Surrey, as there are currently no comparables in the region.
"It is much more than a casino and this must really be recognized. Most notably, this features the following, 20,000 square feet of much-needed conference space," said Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade in an announcement of her support for the project earlier this year.
Cliff Annable, of the South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce also threw his support behind the proposal, saying it would mean keeping gaming dollars within Surrey.
"Each year, Surrey residents are spending approximately $(80) million on casinos outside of Surrey," he said at the same announcement.
"This proposal will make it possible for Surrey residents to spend more of their entertainment dollars in Surrey."
Surrey council is expected to make their final decision on the proposed casino following a Jan. 14 public hearing, at which point they will consider the site's gaming application.
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