The provincial government has at last taken a firm position over the proposed prison site in Kelowna. In a recent letter to the City of Kelowna, Solicitor General Rich Coleman wrote that the controversial site on the border of Lake Country would not be considered for the institution.
“Since the site was first announced, the message from residents in Lake Country has been consistent that the area is inappropriate for a prison. This ends any speculation that the site will be used for a prison,” says Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country.
Mayor James Baker says Coleman displayed reason and wisdom in his decision. He says a prison near or in Lake Country is contrary to council’s vision for the community.
With the uncertainty in regards to the Hiram Walker site cleared up Baker is confident in Lake Country’s high tourism potential to add some diversity to the municipality’s tax base.
“A prison doesn’t meet our vision for the community as a recreational resort area. Despite what Kelowna says, it (the prison) would affect Lake Country and the Okanagan Indian Band the most,” says Baker.
The provincial government still plans to construct a new prison facility somewhere in the Okanagan by 2015.
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