Elements Casino in Surrey, BC is home to the Fraser Downs Standardbred horse racing track. Formerly known as the Cloverdale Raceway.

The horse racetrack has been around since 1976. The casino opened in the early 2000’s, and it didn’t take long before the profits from the slot machines and poker tables far exceeded the earnings from the horse racing.

Elements Casino would love to shut down the horse racing for good so they can expand the casino. It makes good business sense. If your corporation has different ventures and one of them isn’t making as much money, you want to cut that one off and expand the better money-maker.

I have nothing against casinos. I’ve been to Reno and Las Vegas many times. From time to time I’ve visited the Elements Casino to play the slots and watch the horse races. Whether or not the casino is there is no big deal to me one way or the other.

Personally, I prefer Las Vegas over Cloverdale!

Since mid-March, 2020, all casinos, including Elements Casino, have been closed under British Columbia’s public health orders due to the coronavirus pandemic. Casinos are under the final stage for reopening, meaning when a vaccine is widely available.

Prime Minister Trudeau recently said he expects most Canadians should be vaccinated by September, 2021. Being cautiously optimistic, casinos in British Columbia should begin reopening in the fall of 2021. Obviously, all that can change based on vaccine availability and unknown factors.

Right now Fraser Downs Standardbred horse racing is back in action on Wednesday and Friday nights without live racing fans in attendance.

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch…

Elements Casino is located on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds and right now the parking lot is sitting empty. The casino has blocked off access to the parking lot so cars can not drive in from 60th Avenue.

It seems really mean-spirited to me. Most of the people who want to park in this lot are using Greenaway Park next door. When the small Greenaway lot is full, drivers park in the upper corner of the fairgrounds and walk to the park.

Some people want to watch the horses, and it’d be nice if they could drive in and park. Especially right now when our entertainment options are limited and we have to stay safe and practice social distancing.

Others, like myself, sometimes use the fairgrounds parking lot as a shortcut. When traffic is backed up on 60th Avenue from the lights on 176th Street, I drive through the fairgrounds parking lot from the lights at 177B Street, so I can access the lane that runs alongside the racetrack, and exit out on 62nd Avenue. That route takes me to 176th Street without being stuck in traffic for three blocks waiting multiple light changes.

Keeping with their mean theme, in addition to blocking access to the parking lot, Elements Casino has also closed and padlocked the gate to reach the other side of the fairgrounds.

The Grinch is alive and well at Elements Casino!

Temporary fencing

A few weeks ago, Elements Casino hired a company to put up temporary fencing about 10 feet or so away from the racetrack fence.

The fence runs from a permanent chain link fence at the east end of the parking lot up to the Elements Casino building.

On the west side of the Elements Casino building, the parking lot continues. Then it goes into a parking lot for the Surrey Truck Museum, community halls, a curling rink, ice arena, and a recreation center.

There is a roadway lane that runs between the racetrack fence and the parking lot, aka my shortcut route. Elements Casino has installed the temporary fencing on the west side of their casino building and along the roadway heading north to 62nd Avenue.

The temporary fence comes to an end where there is a chain link fence that surrounds the backstretch barn area.

How much do you suppose that temporary fencing costs to rent a month? I’m sure Elements Casino and Super Save will tell me it’s none of my business, but my estimate is in the $1,000/month range. That’s based on $25/month per panel, so I might be low-balling. I didn’t count the panels, and I don’t know if a discount was given.

What’s up with a temporary fence?

Elements Casino has a lot of hatred and intolerance towards the local community of Cloverdale and horse fans. That’s pretty obvious because they’ve erected a temporary fence for no good reason.

“Keep back, you local yokels! Cloverdale clunks!”

I mean there’s already a fence surrounding the racetrack that keeps the horses in and the people out. I’ve lived in Cloverdale my whole life and the only problems I’ve ever heard about the racetrack fence is disrepair and Elements Casino not keeping up with the maintenance. A secondary fence 10 feet back from the racetrack fence serves no purpose other than keeping back any people who want to watch the horses on the track.

Are there hoards of racing fans dying to stand close to the racetrack fence in rain and freezing temperatures? The times I’ve stood at the fence while walking at my dogs, I’m usually standing there alone. Sometimes another person is further down the fence.

The Sad, Empty Cloverdale Fairgrounds Parking Lot

During normal times when the casino is open, a handful of racing fans come out of the building to stand at the fence. Usually no more than a dozen people. Horse racing just isn’t as popular as it was back in the 1980s.

Not community-minded

Elements Casino really seems determined to be mean-spirited to the local community by blocking access to cars to park in their lot. Now with their latest move at installing temporary fence to keep people away from the racetrack fence, it just all seems so pointless.

Not to mention expensive. Here’s a casino that has no customers and no known income. In tough times, businesses are looking to cut costs. Apparently Elements Casino has a big slush fund and money to burn on frivolous expenses like renting a fence to surround an already existing fence.

Why doesn’t Elements Casino use their parking lot for good instead of evil?

There are a lot of TV shows and movies filming in the Greater Vancouver Area that would be happy to rent the space.

For example, a Christmas movie, Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas, was shooting in downtown Cloverdale not too long ago.

The rest of the Cloverdale Fairgrounds has a lot of empty space not being used due to shutdowns from the pandemic. Not leaving money on the table, the back parking lot of the fairgrounds has been rented out and a movie set is being constructed.

The set also has a temporary fence around it. I guess they don’t want the public running into Superman!

Then there’s a parking lot in another part of Surrey that’s become a covonavirus testing site. https://www.cloverdalereporter.com/news/fraser-health-to-open-covid-19-test-centre-at-south-surrey-park-ride/

Can you imagine the goodwill if Elements Casino had offered up their portion of the Cloverdale Fairgrounds parking lot to be a Covid-19 testing station?

These are missed opportunities for Elements Casino to use their parking lot for good things and to show community support.

I’m not sure why Elements Casino wants to alienate Cloverdale residents, but I think there’s something bigger going on.

Let’s wait for their next move.

Perhaps they’ll build a moat around the facility and fill it with great white sharks.

More reading:

The Sad, Empty Cloverdale Fairgrounds Parking Lot
Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas - Movie Filming in Cloverdale, BC

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