A Prison in Summerland, BC? No: Oliver.

Correctional facility approved for Oliver, BC

Number of inmates in Oliver… 360 or 800?

leave a comment »

inmatesWe now know the real answer to the question in the official BC government information package that was used to “sell” the idea of the correctional facility to the good people of the Okanagan. (Above was one of the main questions from the public).

Not even one year after opening the prison, there are now nearly 800 inmates.  This fact comes from a source who works at the prison.

Weasel Words

A few years ago this was one of the big concerns as to why they were using “weasel words” when asked questions like this by the public. From our blog post of July 2011 was the following:

“One of the misconceptions about the prison from the beginning, was regarding the number of potential inmates. This was due to the limited information from both the council and the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General’s office. For example: a question and answer from the official Ministry proposal: Q. How many inmates will be in the prison? A. There will be 360 cells in 10 units. That’s like asking someone “How many people are in the restaurant” and their answer is “there are 54 tables”. Was this ambiguity intentional that led to a majority of people believing there would be 360 inmates? At the meeting we got the real answer; 720. But that’s 720 on day one when the prison opens its doors.”

If you are asked to host a prison in your community – a word of advise; beware the white men who speak with forked tongues.

Written by summerlandbc

December 8, 2017 at 7:34 am

Posted in Recent Posts

Wanted: Crane Operator

leave a comment »

To all those people who thought the Oliver prison would mean jobs, jobs, jobs…

Probability of precast?

New prison built from precast modules

Precast in stone?

This post is from 2011 and until today had not been published.

Considering PCL, which is the same company constructing the Oliver correctional facility, used precast units for the Surrey Pre-trial Centre expansion, they will obviously be using them for the Okanagan prison as well.

  • In Vancouver at the Surrey Pre-trial project, our use of pre-cast cells meant we were able to install 280 prison cells in a little over two weeks, saving significant time and cost.  Source PCL

Two years ago we were asking what was the likelihood that the Okanagan facility would  be constructed of precast units. Our concern was that the number of jobs would be a lot less for locals, if pre-cast were used. No-one in corrections would answer that at the time of the Okanagan public meetings. Now we know the answer. And worse yet, PCL shipped the precast units in from the eastern US, for the Surrey Pretrial Centre so no Canadian company benefited from their construction.

Vancouver’s DGBK architects on precast

DGBK were the architects selected for the Surrey Pretrial Services Centre expansion. The firm had also been hired to study cost efficiencies and to create architectural renderings of the proposed facility for the Okanagan Correctional Centre a few years ago. (see DGBK post )

In May of 2011 when I spoke with a partner at DGBK, I asked him if precast materials would be used for the Surrey Pretrial facility. He said they were looking at it. I also asked if the facility would be LEED accredited and was told it would depend on their approach.

Now we know the facility will be ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design; (LEED) Gold it is logical to assume that a decision was made to include precast in the construction of the building.  LEED Gold certification can in part be achieved by using precast materials which are more energy efficient, environmentally friendlier and according to the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General the new Surrey prison will have the highest level of sustainability ever achieved in a correctional facility in British Columbia.

NO jobs, jobs, jobs

A number of prisons are now being built using precast units, for example the new Toronto South Detention Centre shown above. This is a cost saving measure for the government which is the good news. The bad news is that precast materials hugely reduce the amount of local labor required and often brings little into the local economy as the units are built elsewhere.

The three projects under BC Corrections capital expansion plan are incorporating green technology and building practices and are targeting LEED Gold certification. *There were no provincial correctional facilities in B.C. that had attained LEED certification until the Surrey Pretrial facility was completed. It is the first in BC.

Fast construction means earlier production, occupancy and reduced financing costs. Winter construction can proceed with few weather delays. Precast components are fabricated off-site in heated plants and delivered to the jobsite when needed. Source: Osco Construction NB

When the foundations are completed, precast building units can be erected swiftly in almost any kind of weather. Source: Osco Construction

Precast prison units, not new to PCL

In 2006, the PCL Regina construction management team had been given the contract for their largest pre-cast concrete job ever, at the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre. Three hundred and forty panels requiring almost 800 cubic meters of concrete. Seven years ago. PCL using precast units should not be news to anyone.

Written by summerlandbc

April 26, 2014 at 7:09 pm

Posted in Recent Posts

A Historic Land-Use Agreement?

leave a comment »

Is this Okanagan Correctional facility really a historic land-use agreement with First Nations or is it yet another project for which empty promises were made?

P-3 Partnership?

Back in May 18, 2011 in an Osoyoos Times article, Osoyoos Indian Band CFO Brian Titus said the band is proposing a “P-3 partnership” for the project and would take on the responsibilities of designing, building, financing and maintaining the facility, should it be built at the band’s new industrial park north of Oliver.

How did that scenario change from a P-3 partnership to one where the OIB is simply the landlord and now no jobs have been promised for band members?

Chief Clarence Louie said last Wednesday in the Penticton Herald that jobs for band members remains a key concern, although he noted there is no formal agreement outlining how many members must be hired for the prison.

“The province, like anybody else who leases land on an Indian reserve, it’s their project. We’re just the landlords,” Chief Clarence Louie said…. There’s nothing on paper, but they know it is on band land and Osoyoos Indian band members our our first priority in our band businesses.”


Written by summerlandbc

April 18, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Posted in Recent Posts

A prison in the heart of wine country

leave a comment »

Prison graphic re prison proposed for Oliver BC

Written by summerlandbc

April 4, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Posted in Recent Posts

Inmates will stay in the community

leave a comment »

BC Corrections could use some correcting

In a post from June 16, 2011 titled “BC politicians on the downside of prisons”, ex-Mayor Gordy Robson of Maple Ridge tried to warn us, that BC Corrections were not upfront when making promises to the communities in which they had facilities, and in fact the Ministry of Public Safety had violated their ‘good neighbor agreement’ with Maple Ridge.

Gordy Robson had also said that “. . . whatever promises they are making now, they will not live up to.  The evidence here in Maple Ridge is that Corrections will not admit or honor the agreement they had, and that is very disturbing”. 

Inmates DO stick around

In contrast to Corrections BC’s claim in their fact sheet that convicts don’t stick around when released, Mr. Robson also said that released inmates in Maple Ridge are just dropped off at the bus station and some decide to stay.

The following is the Q and A from the official Okanagan Corrections fact sheet put out by the Ministry of Public Safety:

Q. What happens to the inmates when they are released? Where do they go?

A. It is important to realize that in most cases, inmates are not from the area the correctional centre is located and want to return to their home communities. Sentenced inmates are always given a bus ticket to return to their community of origin upon completion of their sentence.

We already knew this was a crock from having spoken to several correctional officers. One CO from Surrey told me that remanded individuals and prisoners are only given bus tickets from Surrey Pretrial, IF they know to ask for one. This is entirely contrary to what Brent Merchant from BC Corrections had been telling us all along.

The correctional officer also told me that if a remanded inmates trial came up at 4:00pm and the paperwork didn’t come through until 10:00 that night, that by law they are forced to release them even if the buses have stopped running for the night.

Where are they going to go at 10:00 at night in Oliver with no buses running? For one, they might steal your car, which according to the CO’s we talked to, is a common occurrence.

MLA Terry Lake says “inmates stay in the community”

Feb 6, 2012 KFJC-TV  Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake praised this morning’s announcement, [re the Oliver prison], saying it will be a benefit for the crowded Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre. Lake says it’s a tough process to locate a facility like a jail, with some seeing the positives and others, the negatives…

Lake says both he and Mayor Peter Milobar have long been concerned about crowding at KRCC, saying when inmates are released, they often stay in the community and put pressures on local police.

Written by summerlandbc

April 4, 2013 at 11:26 am

Kamloops facility manager says prison is an ‘energy pig’

leave a comment »

“The correctional centre is a heavy user of electricity, gas and water.”

April 2013 – We had originally posted this in August of 2011. Brookfield, who are now a contender (oh let’s not pretend…. they will be the winning bidder re the prison in Oliver… for building it on a P3 basis), had comments on their website asserting that the correctional centre in Kamloops was an “energy pig”. Now that we know that the town where the prison will be built is Oliver, should that not cause some concern in regards to the already existing water shortages? A prison in a desert? (Apparently the comments by Bruce Cline are no longer on the BLJC website.)

Original post:

Brookfield Lepage Johnson Controls (BLJC) is the company in charge of maintaining the Kamloops Correctional facility. Bruce Cline works for BLJC and is the Maintenance Team Leader and acting Facility Manager for the Kamloops Correctional Centre.

"Kamloops prison is what we refer to as an energy pig"

On the BLJC website, under the category of ‘Facilities Management’ are some of Cline’s observations about running the Kamloops prison:

The correctional centre is a heavy user of electricity, gas and water.

“It’s 24/7, so the building itself is what we refer to as an energy pig,” says Cline.

The facility has double-bunked each of their living cells except for the segregation cells to meet demand, says Cline.

“The load on the building has gone up substantially,” he adds

Cline says that jails are unique in that they’re large, they’re crowded and they demand energy at all hours of the day and week. Few buildings in his portfolio match those needs.

“It’s different where you’ve got a facility where you’ve got people living 24/7, the fuel consumption and wear and tear on the building is probably triple what it should be on a standard commercial office building,” he says.

Water Issues

In light of Cline’s comments about the energy use of a prison, it makes more sense to build the Okanagan facility in a city the size of Kelowna where the impacts are less dramatic than they would be in a town the size of Summerland Oliver?

We They already have a taxed water system that on many levels is dysfunctional. Why would we they want to make that worse?


Written by summerlandbc

April 3, 2013 at 8:00 am

Posted in Recent Posts

What a crock, Shirley Bond

with 2 comments


March 20, 2013 Shirley Bond says today at the Osoyoos Indian Band Cultural Centre, that she was here to announce the wonderful news about the prison in Oliver.  According to Ms Bond:

“It (the prison) is the centrepiece of the second phase of the largest capital expansion in B.C. Corrections’ history and will increase corrections capacity to meet current and future demand. This project will see 1,000 jobs during the construction phase and 240 permanent jobs once the project is complete. It is an important part of our job creation strategy,” said Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Shirley Bond.

Memo to Shirley Bond: If prison jobs are the best your government can do in terms of job creation in an agriculture and tourism region such as ours then it’s no wonder your days in office are numbered. Talk about thinking inside the box.

Written by summerlandbc

March 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Posted in Recent Posts

The new Oliver correctional facility

leave a comment »

…not being greeted with open arms

January 20, 2013 – There appear to be rumblings from the Oliver area that some residents and businesses are becoming increasingly concerned about the possibility of having a massive correctional facility next door.

The owner of one of the largest and most established wineries in the area, said that the “less-than-visionary” idea of hosting the largest prison in BC in the middle of wine country, was “totally insane, stupid.”

Stay tuned for more, but in the meantime check out the Penticton Blogspot for information about potential issues and concerns etc.

Written by summerlandbc

January 20, 2013 at 5:22 am

Posted in Recent Posts

Where did the nearly $4 million go?

leave a comment »

Why do other native bands have so much problem getting money, ie the Atawapiskat band in Ontario that declared their area to be in a state of emergency due to the presence of DeBeers Diamonds and couldn’t get any federal funding, while on May 27 in 2010:

The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, today announced $2,783,000 in funding to the Osoyoos Indian Band for the development of the Senkulmen Enterprise Park. The Osoyoos Indian Band is investing $1,000,000 in the project. Other contributing partners include the Department of Western Economic Diversification and the Bank of Montreal.

Federal funds are being made available through Indian and Northern Affairs Canada’s Community Economic Opportunity Program (CEOP). The CEOP provides support to assist First Nation and Inuit communities in developing economic opportunities. Source Journal of Commerce

Where is the money?

Where did the nearly $4 million dollars in taxpayer dollars go?  It was announced nearly 3 years ago and the only thing on the Senkulmen site is a small building and a monument at the gate stating that the park is a place to ‘work and create’. ‘Work and create’ what?

work and create

Written by summerlandbc

December 13, 2012 at 8:49 am

Posted in Recent Posts

Senkulmen Business Park (aka prison site)

leave a comment »

December 12, 2012 – Stopped in today to see if anything had moved forward at the Oliver prison site. Apparently not. Still vacant, still untouched. Odd.

It rather begs the question: If the people of the Osoyoos Indian band in Oliver needed the jobs so badly, that they’d vote yes to something like a prison, what are they living on while they wait? And wait, and wait…..

site a

Written by summerlandbc

December 12, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Posted in Recent Posts