Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts has penned an open letter to the British Columbia Lottery Corporation's president and CEO Michael Graydon in response to "inflammatory" comments he made earlier this week about council's decision to turn down the South Surrey casino.
Earlier in the week, Graydon publicly questioned Watts' decision, indicating that he had been under the assumption she was in favour of the project prior to the public hearing process.
To that, Watts took exception.
"The statement...implies that I acted irresponsibly. The only thing that transpired was public consultation," wrote Watts. "Mr. Graydon's comments show a complete disregard for the public process."
Furthermore, Watts questioned the appropriateness of Graydon's comments, considering he is the head of a provincial regulating body.
Watts then went on to list a number of facts, such as how she did not support the first and second reading of the initial rezoning application and that the developer at the time had said they would continue with a hotel and convention centre with or without a casino.
Watts also said in the letter that the slot machines at the Newton bingo hall had much public support when it was approved, unlike the South Surrey casino.
"I, along with council, worked with the proponent to define a project that would have the best chance for success, and serve the residents of Surrey, as we moved forward to the public consultation component of the process," she continued. "Our input was intended to assist the developer, but was not approval for the project because we are committed to public consultation prior to making decisions.
"If, in fact, the CEO of BCLC expected this to be fully supported, then why bother going through with the public consultation process and a public hearing that continued for 13 hours? We must ensure that we have an open and transparent process where the mayor and councillors can make decisions and be supported, whichever side of the issue they are on."