Surrey rejects casino after residents fight to preserve neighbourhood

SURREY, B.C. - A controversial casino has been rejected in Surrey, B.C., after councillors voted 5 to 4 against the project that pitted residents aiming to preserve a rural area against those promoting an economic boost for a booming city.

The vote early Saturday came after a contentious public hearing where hundreds of residents rallied for or against the proposed $100-million project that was slated to include a hotel and conference centre.

Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd. wanted to move a temporary gaming licence it had for a much smaller facility elsewhere in the city to a new complex that would include a hotel and convention centre in south Surrey.

The project was also backed by the BC Lottery Corp., which urged the city to approve the licence.

But residents said the mega-entertainment complex would invite crime and traffic congestion to their neighbourhood.

Proponents said the facility would have provided jobs and millions of dollars in revenue for the fastest-growing city in B.C.

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