A Prison in Summerland, BC? No: Oliver.

Correctional facility approved for Oliver, BC

Archive for April 2011

“Maple Ridge prisons not good neighbours”

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Escape from 'temporary' tent structure built in 2008

Corrections cavalier about not informing residents

In response to the escape of prisoner Ajit Singh on April 17, 2011 from a ‘temporary’ tent structure (photo above), the former mayor of Maple Ridge said the prisons are not good neighbours. (Corrections breached an agreement to send out automated telephone notifications to nearby prison residents, informing them of an escape.)

“We had an agreement with the corrections branch. They have torn it up,” said Gordy Robson, a former mayor of Maple Ridge and a member of the Webster’s Corner Neighbourhood Association, a residents’ group in an area that encompasses both prisons.

“The fact that they (prisoners) are going over the fence is a little scary. How could that possibly happen?” Robson claims employees of both prisons have called the neighbourhood association with complaints about staffing problems at the facilities.

“I think the whole thing is a disaster and it’s only a matter of time before there are serious consequences,” Robson said.

“For them to have somebody over the fence and not tell the neighbourhoods to me is malicious.”


B.C. Corrections believes complaints about overcrowding at the men’s prison, which had 525 inmates on the day Singh escaped, are unfounded.

“We don’t think it can be described as overcrowded. We are certainly within our current capacity,” (Jess) Gunnarson said.*

But the prison guard union continues to blame overcrowding for contributing to many of the problems at Fraser regional, including a steady availability of illegal drugs, an increase in assault on corrections officers and “walk-aways” from work crews.

Singh was being housed in a temporary “tent” structure constructed in 2008 to alleviate capacity issues at the jail.

Dean Purdy, a spokesperson for the B.C. Government Employees Union’s correctional and sheriff services section, said the tent structure was meant to accommodate 52 men. On Saturday, there were 84 men in the unit, supervised by two guards.

Originally built to hold 254 inmates, the union notes Fraser regional is 200 per cent over capacity.

(Source BC Local News. Read full story)

* Note to Jess Gunnarson of BC Corrections: You might want to read the Federal Government peer reviewed report showing overcrowding statistics in Canadian prisons. Brent Merchant, your colleague, was one of the reviewers on that panel. (Or read any of the statistics on our blog sourced from both Provincial and Federal Corrections, the Canadian Prison Ombudsman or the John Howard Society… just to name a few). 

Written by summerlandbc

April 30, 2011 at 10:35 pm

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Okanagan Hockey School position on remand centre

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Quote from letter sent to Penticton Council by Andy Oakes, President of the Okanagan Hockey School:

“We are extremely concerned about the proposed BC correctional facility due to the fact that we feel this facility will change the fabric and identity of the City of Penticton.”

Quote from Patrick Murphy regarding Andy Oakes presentation at Outlook Conference

“Andy Oakes is a winner.  He has built an international success story that is on a very strong growth trajectory.  He has a strong team of very good people.  I cannot wait to hear his message of the economic ripple effects through the South Okanagan.”

I agree with Patrick Murphy; Andy Oakes is a winner. And his attached letter is certainly crystal clear regarding the NEGATIVE “economic ripple effects” of a correctional facility in Penticton.

Andy Oakes against prison in Penticton

Letter sent by Andy Oakes to Penticton Council – page 2

Written by summerlandbc

April 27, 2011 at 9:46 pm

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Comment of the day – April 25

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A Prison: Economic Salvation?

The misinformed and desperate talk about all the wonderful things that a prison would bring to our beautiful town… they forget however the reason why prisons exist in the first place…

“… Prisons are NOT in the business of providing financial and economic salvation to those who made the uninformed decision to purchase, or don’t have the acumen to manage, a small-town-business/entity entirely dependant on the economic prosperity of others.”

Robert S of Summerland

Well said, Robert S!

Written by summerlandbc

April 25, 2011 at 1:18 pm

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Comment of the day – April 22

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Benefits of a prison; doubtful

People who believe a prison will provide a significantly large boost to local businesses and the Summerland economy in general are dreaming. Large institutions operated by the government place most of their operating expenditures out to tender. They are part of a mass purchasing structure. The possibility of local residents getting employment in this proposed institution are slim at best. Furthermore grants in lieu of taxes will be negotiated at the minimum. If the District is responsible for the expansion or even only the operating costs of increased water demands needed for the prison (sufficient water being a problem in Summerland) and sewage treatment I suspect that the grants will be insufficient and local residents will face increase costs.

Comment by Ronald Poole

Written by summerlandbc

April 22, 2011 at 8:59 pm

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Comments of the day – April 18

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Stay away from Prisonland!

A prison will not bring homebuyers to an overpriced market. Will not create more than a set amount of average paying jobs. Will not decrease the cost of food, fuel and taxes. A prison will require you to lock your doors, keep your daughters under curfew, trust others less. A prison brings a stigma. Deters tourism and investment.

We should be focused on tourism, families and retirees, quality of living here… Summerland is the finest place in Canada to raise a family, retire, and spend your holidays… bring in a prison, I’ll take my family elsewhere and warn literally thousands of friends and contacts everywhere… Stay away from Prisonland!

Comment by Dirty Money

Comments of the day re Summerland prison

Sex, Drugs and Hells Angels

Bring in the sex, drugs and hells angels… things are too peaceful around here!
I haven’t had to buy ammo for my Remington since my hunting days… (1980′s)… looks like it’s time to stock up on bullets during my next Canadian Tire next visit…

Comment by Kevin

Written by summerlandbc

April 18, 2011 at 8:09 pm

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Minimum amount of security

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William Bicknell, serving a life sentence for second-degree murder, escaped March 10 while on a temporary escorted pass from Drumheller Institution.

Escaped inmate from Drumheller– William Bicknell

CALGARY, AB – March 10, 2011 – The parents of Angela Steer, slain in 2001 by escaped convict William Wade Bicknell, say the prison system has failed them by placing him in a minimum-security facility. Source

MISSION, BC – April 17, 2011 – James Edward Rogers, serving a life sentence for first degree murder, escaped from minimum-security Ferndale Institution.

Convicted first degree murderer escaped Mission Institution

Written by summerlandbc

April 18, 2011 at 9:32 am

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Sign our petition

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Our online petition is at www.noprisonsummerland.com

No remand centre in Summerland – sign our petition

Written by summerlandbc

April 13, 2011 at 9:51 pm


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A Petition Against a Prison in Summerland

The petition is for residents of Summerland and will be presented to Mayor Janice Perrino and council at the appropriate time.

Please click the following link to go to the petition page; www.noprisonsummerland.com
You can also leave a comment on the form below the petition.

Written by summerlandbc

April 13, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Letter sent to Summerland Mayor

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The following is a copy of a letter sent by Molly Ehmann to Mayor Janice Perrino:

Dear Mayor Perrino,

I am writing to express my opinion on having a prison in Summerland.

I DO NOT want a prison in Summerland. It would be completely out of character for Summerland.

I am 29, and a mother of a 4 year old and 1 year old girls. I want a safe community for my family. I want to feel safe walking to the Strong Start preschool at Giant’s Head School and know I can leave my stroller outside without a bike lock. I own my home and my husband and I have worked hard improving it and do not want to see its value decreased by having a prison in this town.

Summerland does not have enough water for a prison if we do not have enough water for a development like the Summerland Hills Golf resort.

We need more industry, not inmates. If I read the papers correctly, our economic development officer was laid off. Summerland needs to hire the best economic development officer they can find, and get him or her out there pounding the pavement, looking for business to bring to Summerland. Not just manufacturing business, but care facilities and medical facilities. Facilities like the old Kelly Care building, so that those in their final years can still live in Summerland and have their children and care givers close by.

I was born and raised here, my mother was born and raised here, my grandmother was born and raised here. We and our extended families have stayed in Summerland because it is like no other place. Our friends who love visiting Summerland are disgusted that Summerland could be turned into a prison town. Summerland has always been a small, quiet town and a bedroom community and needs to stay this way. Beautiful small towns like Summerland are getting very rare and we need to protect it.


Molly Ehmann

Written by summerlandbc

April 12, 2011 at 3:14 pm

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Unintended consequence of prisons

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There will be drugs coming into Summerland; it’s part of the system we will be importing

Canada’s Prison Ombudsman, Howard Sapers, quoted on what he says is the troubling continued drug use in Canada’s prisons: “In any penitentiary, prisoners are generating pressure for people (this includes prison staff) to be involved in illegal activity outside the institution, so people are being pressured or muscled to have visitors attempt to transport drugs inside the institution.”

Correction Services Canada (Review Panel) wrote in their report: “How do drugs get into such supposedly secure environments? On the demand side, about 4 out of 5 offenders arrive [in prison] with a serious substance abuse problem.” As the gang-affiliated population in prison grows—by a third in the past decade, according to CSC Commissioner Keith Coulter—the number of inmates with on-the-job experience in the drug trade exacerbates the problem.

“Maximum security remands have a habit of being a breeding ground for further gang activity.” Attorney General Wally Oppal’s quoted. Gang activity revolves around drugs.

If you haven’t seen our posted video of the ‘over the wall’ drug drop at the Stony Mountain Penitentiary in Manitoba, you might want to check it out.

Written by summerlandbc

April 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm

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