In the last public meeting a Corrections representative admitted that there are no guarantee whatsoever for more employment or any other benefits to local people. Fair enough, at least honest.
What is 100 per cent guaranteed, is that there will be trouble: more drugs, more street crime, more load on the local infrastructure. And the fact that life in Penticton will be changed, and not to the best. Just a few quick observations.
The current economy, which is based on wealthy pensioners, will be damaged beyond repair, because they will stop coming. Current residents who came here for the lifestyle will be leaving town in a big number. The real estate market will plunge (so everybody’s assets, all home equity borrowing, etc). And these are, unlike illusional benefits of the prison plan, absolutely obvious outcomes.
The Okanagan Hockey School, which donated quite a bit to the Penticton Secondary School and gives pride and an income source to the local community and the entire province, will be significantly downgraded. Nobody would send their child to live without parents next door to a prison (the actual distance, whether it would be 100m or 10 km would not matter, the fact itself would be enough to turn anybody out). That means that all out-of-town students would go to other places. So do hosting and employment income, traditions and talents.
I suggest that we should do whatever is possible to not let there be a prison in Penticton. If the prison plan is not illuminated on the stage by the council, we should call for a city referendum and clearly say ‘no’ to the plan.