About 65 people attended a tense meeting last night in Hammonds Plains to voice their concerns about a VLT gaming development on Shubenacadie band land.

The band says the Wallace Hills development has been in the works for years, but Bruce Innes says it's taken his community by surprise.

“The buzz isn't good. It's poison. People don't want it,” he said.

The band owns approximately 55 hectares of land in the area. A centre to house 45 video lottery terminals is already under construction.

Resident Drew MacKenzie said he wants meaningful consultation moving forward.

“There are so many other positive things that could go in there. I'm sure that they could think of something better and more positive for any community other than a VLT centre,” she said.

'In dire straits'

The meeting was difficult for band member Christine Mason, who has lived in Wallace Hills for years.

“I felt a little upset because it felt like we weren't being welcomed. When we move here as a reserve, we’re not going to depreciate anyone's property. We are going to enhance it,” she said.

The band's operations manager Nathan Sack said revenue from the 45 VLTs will help alleviate poverty and a housing shortage in Indian Brook.

“My community is in dire straits. We have a huge debt. We have a huge housing crisis. Nationwide, and even within our band, we need that revenue desperately and gaming is a proven way to get that revenue,” he said.

Sack said the gaming centre will likely open in December.