01/22/2013 09:38 EST | Updated 03/24/2013 05:12 EDT

Casino proposal defeat a 'missed opportunity' for Surrey

A Surrey city councillor is speaking out against her council's decision to kill plans for a new mega casino complex.

Barinder Rasode voted in favour of the $100-million proposal, which was defeated five to four in a vote over the weekend.

"This is a missed opportunity for the City of Surrey."

Rasode says the project’s defeat means Gateway Casinos can now move ahead with a plan to redevelop an existing bingo hall into a new Community Gaming Centre in the nearby neighbourhood of Newton.

“We have put the slot machines into a very vulnerable community,” she said.

“Newton is already burdened with a lot of social service agencies, recovery homes, [and] other addiction services. I don't believe that Newton is the place for those slot machines because the license is not going to be transferred out of that community.”

The decision stems from an October 2012 corporate report by the city, which paved the way for a permanent home for the 150 slot machines currently housed inside an existing bingo hall in case the larger Gateway bid for a south Surrey casino complex was defeated.

Jude Hannah, who runs a blog about Newton’s revitalization, was hoping to see the slot machines removed to make room for new retail space — something she says the neighbourhood needs more than places to gamble.

"[It’s] a victory for the people of south Surrey, but a big disappointment here,” she said. "There is a problem with homelessness, addiction, definitely in the area."

The casino proposal included a 60,000-square-foot casino, a 200-room hotel and 27,000-square-foot entertainment and convention centre at the corner of 12th Avenue and 168th Street.