Two years after Boardwalk Gaming was granted a controversial zoning change amid a pledge to undertake $25 million in upgrades to the rundown mall at 7093 King George Blvd.

Casino supporter regrets backing Newton plan

Controversial project approved two years ago on promises that are now moot.

  • Sep. 19, 2011 7:00 p.m.

She waited in Surrey council chambers until 1 a.m. to speak in favour of a casino in Newton.

It wasn’t an easy undertaking for Pat Cecchetto, who had recently undergone surgery to her right knee, which was throbbing by the end of the night.

But she stayed despite the knee pain because she thought the issue was important.

As a former employee in the not-for-profit sector (which relies on gaming revenues) and a community advocate, Cecchetto thought the Boardwalk Gaming plan for $25 million in improvements to the run-down Newton Mall was a great idea.

Council awarded the rezoning for the property, allowing 150 slot machines.

Two years later, the property still remains in a state of disrepair.

The Leader first reported Thursday that Boardwalk has sold the mall to Gateway Casino and Entertainment Ltd. With that sale went Boardwalk’s promise of significant improvements to the 7093 King George Blvd. property, work that included a new community policing office.

Surrey City Manager Murray Dinwoodie said that while Gateway isn’t beholden to fulfill Boardwalk’s promises, it would be good business to invest in the property.

Cecchetto (left) regrets supPat Cecchettoporting the project.

“I’m totally sorry,” Cecchetto said Friday. “I think it was wrong.”

She said the last thing that Newton needs is more gaming, and notes it’s those at the brink of poverty that will pay for the decision.

“I do believe they are the victims of this,” Cecchetto said.

Surrey council only found out last Monday that the property has switched hands, and at least one councillor said she’s not very happy about it.

“I am very annoyed and frustrated,” said Hepner, who supported the project two years ago when it passed on a five-to-four vote. “I put a lot of faith in what Boardwalk was telling us. We had a lot of opposition.”

She believed some fairly large investment would have taken place on that property by now, but says nothing has happened except the installation of slot machines.

Hepner said if the casino project came before council now, it’s unlikely it would pass.

“If it were in front of me today, I would not be supporting it,” Hepner said.

Calls to Gateway were not returned by The Leader’s press deadline Monday.

The talk down at the mall is development plans are underway, but the company is just waiting for approvals from the city.

Staff in Surrey’s Planning and Development Department said  there are no development permits in stream for that property.

Just Posted

The ‘Upside Down’ is coming to Surrey with ‘One Man Stranger Things’ parody

Charles Ross one-man act based on first two seasons of hit Netflix show

Surrey councillor wants the policing transition process to ‘immediately stop’

Brenda Locke to make motion at Dec. 16 meeting to reconsider current plan

City of Surrey says pension benefits ‘guaranteed’ for police recruits

A National Police Federation representative says it may not be enough incentive

Surrey-area teens will have a ball at Christmas, thanks to collection effort

Realty company’s Bring on the Balls campaign now in its third year

Surrey groups receive funding for training support for people 55-plus

PICS getting $728K to help 120 people over two years

MAP: Christmas light displays in Surrey and beyond

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Man pleads guilty to second-degree murder in 2017 Stanley Park stabbing

Lubomir Kunik was found by a man out walking his dog on the beach late on Feb. 1, 2017

Vancouver homeless camp brings community, safety, home, says resident

Encampment in the city’s Downtown Eastside is one of many that have sprung up in B.C.

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Most Read