A Prison in Summerland, BC? No: Oliver.

Correctional facility approved for Oliver, BC

Archive for June 2011

More prisons equal better morale for correctional officers

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“It will make quite a difference to the morale of the correctional officers”

The following is quoted from the BC Legislature Hansard documents:

HON. B.R. SMITH
“Let me just go back to the problems with institutions and the need to staff them safely.

I think that with the new institutions we’re building and the commitment we’ve made, which we’ve demonstrated, to build new institutions, you’re going to find that morale is going to…. It will be better. I have no doubt that it’s better; it’s certainly been better in Vancouver Pretrial….

I believe that with the completion of our prison program we’ll have not only more efficient and effective use of manpower, but better and improved morale. As the member knows, the Prince George institution, with 48 beds, will be completed very shortly, probably within a matter of weeks; it’s just about built. Kamloops, which is under construction, will be completed in December of this year, and that will be 160 beds. I just was at the sod-turning ceremony yesterday for the Maple Ridge institution. That will be 250 beds, and it will be completed in 18 months…. We’re on our way, and these things are actually in the construction stage.

I think it will make quite a difference to the morale of the very good correctional officers who work for us.”

The quote above, from Hon B.R. Smith was from April 19, 1988 in his legislature speech on the need for more prisons. 

Nothing has improved since then, not the recidivism rate, nor the morale of the correctional officers and millions of dollars have been spent on expansions and new correctional facilities. History just keeps repeating itself.

Why are we spending more of our taxpayer money on prisons when it clearly doesn’t work?

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Written by summerlandbc

June 30, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Posted in Recent Posts

Open letter to the Solicitor General of BC

with 4 comments

Dear Shirley Bond

It’s time to do the right thing Shirley. Put a stop to this farcical and negative business of siting a remand centre in the South Okanagan. THE largest prison in BC and the largest in the history of BC Corrections. Why should 1.6 % of BC’s population be compelled to host 20% of the province’s criminals?

We are sick and tired of this insanity

The pitting of communities against other communities, neighbour against neighbour, husband against wife, has got to stop.

The only good thing that has come of this to date is that it has exposed the weaknesses in the political system and it is a certainty that there is enough momentum in Penticton, for example, to signal that political change is likely to be forthcoming. The same goes for other towns in the South Okanagan riding should this prison come to pass.

“We just don’t care about you people”

The ‘prison winner’ announcement was going to be made in April after the public meetings. Then it was the beginning of May and after that, the middle of June. It is well past the middle of June. We are sick and tired of this.

The process which, by the way, Corrections are aware of (since they address past problems in the prison siting process on their websites), is disgraceful. But it’s also a good indicator up front of how little you care about the citizens in the host community and therefore should serve as a warning to all. The Province of BC is completely ignoring how this has upset so many people. And for what?  Dumping an undesirable project on ridings that voted for the BC Liberals?

‘Jobs’ has become a dirty word thanks to Liberals and local councils

Jobs at any cost. Jobs that will negatively affect the environment, local economies, etc…  it doesn’t matter because they are ‘jobs’. We understand the need for jobs and revenue. What we don’t understand is the failure to prove they are forthcoming and the willingness to disregard adverse social and environmental impacts.

It’s the carrot that has been dangled time and again whether relating to forestry, mining, the power industry or corrections. Both the province and the local councils use it to coerce people to vote ‘yes’ on poorly hatched schemes to create more revenue for government coffers. All the while ignoring the downside. Just a few examples:

Energy: “The Site C Dam would create approximately 7,000 person-years of direct construction employment during the seven-year construction period, and up to 35,000 direct and indirect jobs during the development and construction phases.” Source

HST: “Business are supportive of moving to the HST because we believe it will mean a stronger economy, more jobs, and higher incomes over time.” Source

Coalbed Methane: “The British Columbia government views coalbed methane as “an important new energy source that will diversify our energy supply and contribute to British Columbia’s economy through revenue and jobs.” Source

The gig is up

Since when did any of these deals mean more prosperity for the common man? The gig is up. We know what it really means; more prosperity for big business like Brookfield Asset Management who, for example stand to save millions of dollars if the HST is left at 12% which is why Jack Mintz the economist who your government hired to promote the HST and is also on the board of Brookfield, is pushing so hard to keep it in place.

We know it also means a lot more money for government and the Liberal party. But it does not have the same affect for the guy working at the correctional facility, or at the lumber mill or the guy slogging it out in the mine or on a fishing boat. It never does.

“Ostracized, voiceless legion of the walking dead.”

As Conrad Black, himself a convicted criminal and prison inmate stated; the inmates are an “ostracized, voiceless legion of the walking dead.” Not much rehabilitating going on with those fellows.

The prison system is in a shambles. Your own stats show that the recidivism rate indicates that the successful rehabilitation of prisoners is not part of the equation. You know that. We know that. (At least some of us do).

We fundamentally disagree with the idea of a remand centre or a prison and have stated our reasons for this, in many posts on this and the Penticton anti-prison blogs. And we even more vehemently oppose it in the South Okanagan. And we will fight you and this whole process to keep it the hell out of Dodge.

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Written by summerlandbc

June 24, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Posted in Recent Posts

Why the OIB isn’t likely to get the prison

with 2 comments

OIB correctional facility P3 north of Oliver

OIB or Brookfield?

The Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) recently pitched the Province for the Okanagan Correctional Centre (OCC) to be located at their new industrial park north of Oliver. Their proposal was based on a ‘design, build, finance and maintain’ basis; a P3 (public private partnership) project. Source Osoyoos Times

Meanwhile, the Surrey Pretrial expansion, the first P3 in BC Corrections history, is being built by Brookfield Partnerships; a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management with assets in excess of $150 billion.

Brookfield Partnerships will purchase the land, finance the project, design and build the facility, then lease the property to the government. Brookfield will also manage the facility once it’s built.

How does Brookfield affect the Osoyoos Indian Band in Oliver?

The push towards privatization of numerous government services, including corrections, is big business for the companies being awarded the contracts and Brookfield have been closely tied to the Province of BC since 2003.

Brookfield’s Background

In 2004 Brookfield took over property management services of the real estate wing of the provincial government, (BC Building Corp.) which included ten correctional facilities. (The management service company of Brookfield LePage Johnson Controls operates under the name BLJC – Workplace Solutions Inc. (WSI).)

The property management contract between the government and BLJC states; “Both parties entered into the contractual arrangement with the intent of building and forming a strong sustainable partnership and business alliance over the term of the contract.”  Since their initial contract, the BC government and Brookfield have done just that; there have been numerous mutually beneficial deals and contracts in BC Government industries ranging from forestry, real estate, and corrections, to infrastructure and energy.

The BC Liberals have also been the recipient of generous donations by Brookfield; $1400 in 2006, $25,000 in 2007 and in 2009; $50,000. Source

OIB and Brookfield

73% of the Osoyoos Indian Band voted ‘Yes’ to the siting of the OCC, in a referendum based on the assumption that the OIB would be the ‘proponent’ of the P3 deal. According to an article in the Oliver Chronicle the OIB “envisions many benefits of locating a correctional centre on Senkulmen Business Park land.”

A company such as Brookfield with its strong government ties, is unlikely to sit back and allow the OIB to take on what will be the largest correctional facility in the province.

What are the benefits to the OIB if the province decides to award the contract to a company such as Brookfield, but still host it on OIB lands? Or will it end up that the OIB land is merely “deemed to be unsuitable”?

Brookfield is a company not without controversy. More on the business deals between the BC government and Brookfield Asset Management.

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Written by summerlandbc

June 22, 2011 at 6:34 am

Posted in Recent Posts

Dear Mayor of Summerland

with 2 comments

Hi,
My wife and children (we have 4) are planning a move to the Okanagan and we will not consider Summerland an option if you have a prison there.  Kindly advise your mayor.
Thanks, Art.


Written by summerlandbc

June 22, 2011 at 6:30 am

Posted in Recent Posts

A prison supporters viewpoint

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A comment on a prison forum site concerning the Penticton council publicly stating they would support any community if it will “benefit” Penticton from them having a prison. This includes the PIB lands which are right in the town of Penticton:

“Not only would the relationship with the PIB be seriously affected, but what in the world is the mayor doing, saying that he would support that location? His constituents just said they don’t want a prison in their town and he’s supporting a prison right adjacent to his residents?

The government has demonstrated, with their dealings with Lake Country and Kelowna, that they take into account the feelings of a nearby municipality that is affected by a site that is technically in the other’s jurisdiction. Without the Penticton Mayor raising a concern, and in this case he’s supporting the PIB’s site, isn’t he shoving it to the people of Penticton?”

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Written by summerlandbc

June 22, 2011 at 6:00 am

Posted in Recent Posts

Penticton withdraws the prison sites, but…

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“We will support it anywhere near us that brings us economic benefit” ~ Council

Councillor Mike Pearce made a motion that council withdraw the two sites based on the answer to the question in the poll. Pearce also made a second motion to support any neighbouring community’s application that can show an economic benefit to Penticton.

Garry Litke was the only no vote due to the letter of support that would be forthcoming to other applicants. His reasons for this were as follows:

“The second part of the motion rekindles the debate. By passing this motion we are saying we don’t want it in our town but we will support it anywhere else. I prefer that this motion be severed and because of the second part I will not support the motion.”

It certainly does rekindle the debate. More on this later.

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Written by summerlandbc

June 20, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Posted in Recent Posts

A comment from a Prison Supporter

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A comment from someone who supported the prison in Penticton, but who is apparently not a supporter of the tactics being used by council and Dan Ashton:

“They put out the question, and the electorate answered clearly. If what is being said about Mayor Ashton is true, it has all the appearance of him using the low voter turnout as a scapegoat for his intention to put a personal agenda ahead of those he was elected to represent. How very Harper-esque.

Written by summerlandbc

June 20, 2011 at 10:09 am

Posted in Recent Posts

Is the result binding on Penticton?

with one comment

Mayor Dan Ashton discussing petition with Tom Bijvoet

On May 24 Mayor Dan Ashton was handed a petition with 3,450 names of people against the prison.

Dan Ashton’s quote below, can be found on the Locals Supporting Locals site on the third video titled ‘More with the Mayor Part 2’. The clip is at the 1:30 second mark.

Mayor Dan Ashton is quoted:

“It is binding on me. 100%”

Ashton: “We will have a decision from the community on the 18th of June”

Q. “Is it binding on council?”

A.”I can’t speak for the rest of the council but I can speak for myself.  It is binding on me. 100%. But I will listen to what the community says and I’ve said that all along.”

One day after the vote, it appears that Ashton is less resolute than he was three weeks ago when handed the petition. He is quoted on Global Regina News as saying:

When asked whether the city would rescind its bid, Ashton says it is an option. However, Ashton also says about 24% of eligible voters participated in the opinion poll, which could play a factor in council’s decision.” Source Global Regina News

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On Saturday night 4,302 voters said NO to the prison and 2,143 said YES. 

The voter turnout re the prison was 24% of eligible voters, with 67% voting NO*

The total number of voters for the Mayoral election in 2008 was 8,410. 

The turnout for the mayoral election was 33.37% with 56% voting for Ashton as mayor*

If a 33.37% turnout makes the mayoral and council race binding, then a 24% turnout with a decisive vote against the prison is also binding. 

Decision-confirming votes: NO PRISON: 4302 votes

Decision-confirming votes for Ashton for Mayor: 4704 votes

* Out of a total 26,500 eligible voters


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Written by summerlandbc

June 19, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Posted in Recent Posts

A comment from a reader…

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Posted in the comments section June 19:

Have been keeping updated of the vote… certainly hope this is the REAL outcome. We had been looking at moving to Penticton but put that on hold until the vote was finalized. IF it had been a YES vote, we would definitely had said, “NO, to moving and buying property/building in Penticton, and had looked elsewhere.”

Now we know that we can invest in Penticton and it’s economy and NOT have to worry about not making our investment back. Congratulations Penticton, for believing in your priorities! Rebecca McLellan

Written by summerlandbc

June 19, 2011 at 9:00 pm

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The official (and hopefully final) opinion poll count

with 2 comments

Written by summerlandbc

June 18, 2011 at 10:00 pm

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