Surrey is working to have slot machines removed from this bingo hall.

City moving to pull slots from Newton

Mayor says the company who owns the property has blown agreed upon construction deadlines

Surrey is moving to pull the plugs on the Newton slot machines, after the company running them has blown a deadline for construction.

Mayor Dianne Watts told her colleagues at council on Monday the city will call the BC Lottery Corporation and request they pull the 150 one-armed bandits at the Newton Square Country Bingo Hall at 7093 King George Blvd.

The mayor said Monday Gateway Casinos and Entertainment has blown a deadline under its Project Development Agreement (PDA), and therefore is in breach of its conditions to have slots at the bingo hall.

The PDA states that “Gateway will obtain a building permit by May 1, 2013 and thereafter proceed with construction in a timely manner through to completion of a redevelopment of the existing Newton Bingo Hall site,” according to a October, 2012 corporate report to council.

Two building permits and two demolition permits have been issued, city sources say. The demolition on two buildings has been partially done, but construction hasn’t occurred at the site.

It’s that fact that Surrey is hinging its argument of a breach and demanding the slot machines be removed.

The Newton property was the subject of a highly contentious public hearing in 2009, when gaming critics were pitted against not-for-profit organizations, which rely heavily on gaming revenues.

After a marathon meeting, council passed the gaming expansion in Newton on a five-to-four vote, even though it contravened the city’s own gaming policy.

Those who voted for the Newton casino were Mayor Dianne Watts and Couns. Linda Hepner, Tom Gill and Barbara Steele and then-Coun. Judy Higginbotham.

Subsequently, the company that won the rezoning later flipped the property to Gateway.

The promise of $25 million worth of improvements on the property died with the change in ownership.

Since then, the level of city support for the Newton casino has waned considerably.

“If you’re asking me if I would be sad that it moved? No,” Watts told The Leader in May, 2012. “I just think that the Newton site was not appropriate, and I know that many of us struggled with that site, but supported it because the non-profits were (previously) getting the dollars.”

The bold move to remove the slots is reminiscent of the battle waged by former Mayor Doug McCallum against Newton slots in 1997.

After about $300,000 in legal fees between the city and the province, Surrey eventually won a decision to have them removed.

Those 191 slots were a block away from the current one-armed bandits.

Gateway spokesperson Tanya Garbara said Tuesday the gaming firm is planning to proceed with development as planned. The challenge, she said, is getting the necessary permits from the city.

Asked if she’s willing to go court if BCLC refuses, Watts just said she would wait for the lottery corporation’s response.

History of slots in Surrey

1988: Great Canadian Casino opens in Newton

1997: Great Canadian Casino introduces slots

1998: Slot machines are shut down in Newton, under political pressure and court challenges

2001: Newton casino shuts down

2004: Slot machines added to casino at Fraser Downs in Cloverdale

2009: Casino zoning allowed for Newton at 7093 King George Blvd.

2012: Casino owner considers closing Newton Casino in favor of a larger facility in South Surrey

2013: South Surrey casino voted down on a split vote

2014: Surrey council asking to have slots removed from Newton anyway


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File photo
Surrey Mounties seeking dash-cam footage of Whalley road rage fight

Two men are alleged to have stabbed one another

The RCMP helicopter. (File photo)
Suspect escapes after police pursuit through Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford

Police chase involved two stolen vehicles, including one taken in Mission

IIO Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Police watchdog concludes Mounties didn’t shoot Fleetwood teen at strip mall

IIO finds tragic death of teenager ‘not the result of any actions or inactions’ by the Surrey RCMP

Fraser Health Overdose Alert.
Fraser Health issues Overdose Alert for Surrey

Health authority reports spike of overdoses in the last 24 hours

Emergency crews shut down White Rock’s Five Corners district on Feb. 19, 2020 after an altercation left an elderly man in critical condition. (File photo)
Trial dates set in White Rock manslaughter case

Proceedings against Ross Banner, 71, set for June 2021 in Surrey Provincial Court

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. sees record-breaking daily COVID infections with 499 new cases over weekend

Two people, both in the Lower Mainland, died due to the virus over the weekend

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Most Read