01/15/2013 09:16 EST | Updated 03/17/2013 05:12 EDT

Controversial Surrey Casino Plan Draws Hundreds Of Speakers

Gateway Casinos

An overflow crowd spilled out of Surrey city council chambers last night as people packed in to have their say in the ongoing debate over a controversial casino development.

The project, slated for a spot near Highway 99 and 168th Street, would feature a four-star hotel, 800-seat theatre, a conference centre, plus gaming tables and 600 slot machines.

At the city council meeting Monday, the lines were clearly drawn as city staff affixed posters over each door leading into chambers — one for speakers signed up in support, and the other for those opposed.

More than 110 speakers signed up to speak in favour of the project, while more than 70 were against the development.

Those against the project argue the complex, spread over 25 acres, will have a heavy impact on what is mostly a rural, residential community, increasing crime and traffic while lowering property values.

But those in favour, many of whom are already employed by casinos, say the project will bring much needed amenities and keep jobs in the city.

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