Members of the Semiahmoo First Nation are wondering why the City of Surrey has failed to notify them about a casino proposed for the South Surrey area.
The proposed casino would be at 168th Street and 10th Avenue, just a few blocks away from Semiahmoo reserve land.
Coun. Joanne Charles of the Semiahmoo First Nation said at an open house on the project Wednesday that she had only found out about the project the day before, and it wasn't from the city.
"I didn't know about this meeting until I spoke with somebody else (from the community)," she said, "So I phoned the city to ask why I hadn't received a notice regarding this open house and they informed me that it was Gateway's open house, not the city's."
As such, Charles said the city told her it was not up to them to notify her of the event.
However, Charles is still wondering why nobody from Surrey City Hall has reached out to her about the proposal, which requires the granting of a gaming application.
"They have a duty to consult with First Nations prior to approval for a gaming license," she said.
The reason, said Charles, is that the land being used has significance to the First Nation people.
"We have to look at (whether or not) our aboriginal rights and title are being affected because this is unceded territory," she said. "It is our traditional territory and we have unextinguished Aboriginal rights entitled to the land, so it's important for us to be involved in consultation and, if necessary, to be accommodated if our rights and title have been affected."
The gaming application is expected to appear before council at a Nov. 26 meeting, at which point they will direct staff to either continue with the process or send it back.
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