Langley Township isn’t actively looking to open a casino, but it isn’t ruling the idea out either, the mayor said.
“We certainly are open to any casino operators that would like to talk to us,” Mayor Jack Froese said this week.
In the wake of a Surrey council decision to pass on a casino project in South Surrey, the head of the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) named Langley as a possible future site.
“We’ll now look at whether it is something that could be developed in the south end of Langley or southwest part of Delta,” said Michael Graydon.
While saying he’s open to listening to options, Froese questioned whether the southern portions of Langley are really the right area.
The Township is just starting a new neighbourhood planning strategy that could greatly increase the size of the Brookswood-Fernridge area, in south west Langley.
But all the possible plans still call for the area to be largely residential.
“I can’t see that going over too well,” Froese said of a casino in the middle of Brookswood.
Most other areas in south Langley are likely off limits because they’re in the Agricultural Land Reserve, Froese said.
He also noted any location would likely have to be a decent distance from the existing casino in Langley City.
In 2002, when Langley City’s Gateway Casino was first proposed, the Township council and many residents reacted with shock.
Township councillors suggested splitting the shared Langley RCMP detachment in two, and then-mayor Kurt Alberts was on the record opposing the project.
Concerns about crime and the social ills of gambling were at the forefront of the debate.
Now, Froese, a former Vancouver police officer, said that many of the ills proposed at the time have not come to pass, and that other communities have noticed the City’s gambling revenues.
If anything is suggested to the Township, there would be full public consultation, Froese said.
- with files from the Vancouver Sun