Residents opposed to the approval of poker machines for the Euroa Hotel have taken to the streets.JARROD WHITTAKER March 31, 2014 4:25am
Community divisions on the introduction of poker machines in Euroa were highlighted at a street protest in the town on Saturday.
More than 250 people gathered outside the Euroa Hotel to protest Strathbogie Shire Council’s decision to approve the introduction of 30 pokies to the historic venue.
The protesters marched from Railway St outside the hotel to Strathbogie Shire Council’s offices on Binney St.
A smaller group of about 50 pro-pokies community members gathered on the Railway St foothpath and outside the hotel.
Despite several barbs being exchanged, the meeting progressed peacefully.
No Pokies for Euroa’s Dr Mal Alston said he was pleased with the turn out at the march.
‘‘I think today has again shown our council the support we’ve got in the community to stop poker machines coming into our town,’’ Dr Alston said.
‘‘We’re not against the Euroa Hotel, we’re not against any sort of business development.’’
During the march, protesters chanted and held placards bearing slogans such as ‘‘No cents pokies’’.
The protesters marched behind a flat-bed truck carrying a mock-up gaming lounge with cardboard poker machines and players.
Salvation Army soldier Keith Milburn ministers to children in Benalla.
He said he had attended after seeing the damage pokies had done since their introduction to Benalla.
‘‘As a member of the Salvation Army, I see the end result of it,’’ Mr Milburn said.
‘‘It’s so tragic it’s beyond belief. It affects husbands and wives — it affects children most of all.’’
Supporters of introducing pokies said it would fund the redevelopment of the hotel.
Kevin ‘‘Dozer’’ Kubeil was one of the pro-poker-machine residents to watch the march from Railway St.
He said pokies would bring money into Euroa.
‘‘Buses run from here now to Shepparton for the pokies during the week,’’ Mr Kubeil said.
‘‘Why not have other buses from elsewhere come into Euroa?’’
He said the protesters had been against the introduction of McDonald’s to Euroa last year.
‘‘These people here, half aren’t even from Euroa,’’ Mr Kubeil said.
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