SURREY - Cloverdale business leaders already irked about being left in the dark about a South Surrey casino are even more frustrated after meeting with the British Columbia Lottery Corporation.
Brian Young, president of the Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce, said what took place at Monday's meeting with BCLC "is very concerning."
"They provided some numbers, and what they said was not what the numbers provide," said Young, who represented the chamber as well as the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association.
A new casino is being proposed at 10th Avenue and 168th Street in South Surrey and Young said BCLC has not done its due diligence.
"Their reason that they chose that location based on population made no sense at all. We want to see a copy of the study they said supports the decision. . . Quite honestly, when they're saying they did a study, I believe if they asked the questions properly, they would not have come to that conclusion," said Young. "We want to know why the BCLC didn't look at expanding Fraser Downs, versus putting them in a situation where they won't be able to operate because it won't be financially viable. BCLC made the announcement [about the casino in South Surrey] in front of the business community without consulting with them."
Young said the Cloverdale BIA and Chamber of Commerce oppose the new casino plans, the process surrounding it and the hardship it could cause on Fraser Downs, "a well-respected business in the City of Surrey."
However, the BCLC said on Tuesday afternoon that they have "conducted a thorough marketplace analysis" that confirms Surrey can support two full-service casinos.
"The Fraser Downs facility is an important attraction in Surrey, and it appeals to a different player profile than the proposed South Surrey casino," Kim Steinbart, senior public affairs officer at BCLC, said in a press release sent to the Now.
"Fraser Downs is a well-run facility and we are actively working with Great Canadian Gaming to further enhance the facility. The combination of the two facilities is the right strategy for Surrey - each will offer a unique mix of products and amenities that will appeal to all types of players in and around Surrey."
Steinbart also countered claims by the local business groups by saying "the facility will bring significant benefit to the South Surrey area, providing additional revenue to the community along with a premier attraction and new amenities, including a hotel, restaurants and the largest conference/convention centre in the city."
Steinbart also pointed out the casino is a proposal BCLC has yet to make formally to the City of Surrey.
"We are fully committed to meeting with stakeholders in the community to help them understand what we are proposing to the City of Surrey and to consider their perspectives," she said. "Surrey residents will also have the opportunity to comment and, ultimately, the City of Surrey will decide whether or not to approve this project."