As with most concerned residents I’ve been following the debates and articles regarding a prison in Summerland.
What I haven’t seen brought to light are the facts about the construction and jobs associated with federal and provincial prisons. For instance being a government facility the contractors hired for construction must meet security bonding and liability insurance specs as set out by the government, very few of our local contractors can meet those specifications due to the high costs involved.
Also in most cases the government has an approved contractor list and tenders are usually only provided to those contractors.
Secondly, as these facilities require a high level of security training and are rarely offered outside of the government employees unions very few of the local population would be eligible of any positions offered. It would be quite likely they would be filled from inside the union. Who wouldn’t want to transfer to the Okanagan?
I have also yet to see the financial impact reports on the prisons use of our current water and sewage facilities. There seems to be never ending issues with both facilities now what would the impact be and who would bear the cost?
The annual nominal amount Summerland would receive would quickly be spent and then some on road and service upgrades and maintenance specific to the facility.
As these facilities don’t pay taxes, again who pays the overages.
Also if you do some research I think you will find most people who work at a prison don’t buy a house next door or even in the same area. It’s more likely for employees to live in neighbouring communities in turn supporting an alternate economy.
A prison in Summerland is not the economic patch the town needs. What needs to happen is for the municipal governing body to support the existing contractors, manufacturers and retailers providing incentives and a sound economic plan to keep them business and residents here.
We’ve already lost two large employing businesses in Summerland and numerous smaller enterprises. Instead of looking outside the community for quick fixes lets fix what we already have.