Update sought on prison

Members of Summerland’s municipal council want to know when the province will make its decision about a prison to be built in the region.

Members of Summerland’s municipal council want to know when the province will make its decision about a prison to be built in the Okanagan Valley.

Early in 2011, the province announced its plans to construct a 360-cell prison in the region. Summerland and several other communities submitted potential sites for the facility, but since that time, no announcement has been made.

At present, Lumby, Summerland, the Osoyoos Indian Band and the Penticton Indian Band have made submissions.

Mayor Janice Perrino said council will make a request to the province for an update.

Solicitor General Shirley Bond said an announcement is expected in the near future.

“Government has been carefully reviewing all the capital demands and projects — and there are always competing interests for taxpayer dollars. It’s important to recognize that this is a historic, long-term investment for both the province and the final chosen community,” she said.

“We need to give all of our options careful consideration to ensure we get it right.”

The sites are being evaluated based on environmental conditions, available utilities, zoning, size and proximity to services.

B.C. Corrections staff has already met with community representatives to discuss operations and offer tours of existing facilities.

Summerland’s proposed site is at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s gravel pit on Highway 97 near the northern edge of the community.

If the site is selected, Perrino has said the municipality would consult the public to determine whether to proceed with the facility.