‘Genuine consultation’ needed going forward
I feel compelled to address some of the “facts” as offered by Mayor Dianne Watts’ open letter to the B.C. Lottery Corp. last week (Letters, The Leader, Jan. 29).
1. The mayor did in fact vote in favour of the first and second readings of bylaws 17114 and 17115 at the Jan. 11, 2010 land use meeting, as well as third reading on Feb. 1, 2010. These votes were all carried unanimously, including the third reading that was delayed until a week following the public hearing.
2. The “lack of public concern” raised at the Jan. 25, 2010 public hearing was a result of inadequate public consultation on behalf of the developer and the city’s narrow notification process.
3. The Province newspaper article referred to by Watts citing a developer as saying failure to get casino approval in South Surrey was not a deal-breaker also included the following: “The City of Surrey is serving notice that it’s ready to roll the dice on establishing new gaming facilities. That intent was outlined in a letter last week from the city to B.C. government gaming regulators. In fact, that letter represented more than wishful thinking, because Surrey has already received three applications for gaming facilities.”
4. Regarding the 2009 Newton proposal, Watts chose to include Boardwalk’s 4,086-signature petition as “considerable support” from the 4,273 in favour. While counting only the 84 people that registered their opposition at the public hearing, she neglected to include the two 600-signature petitions and a 120-signature petition submitted by community groups and religious organizations in the immediate Newton neighbourhood. Many of the same NGOs and sports groups that offered their support in 2009 have backtracked on their position after the province cut gaming funds.
We can only hope that a spirit of genuine consultation will precede any future development projects of this magnitude.
Grant Rice, Surrey