The Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce has stepped forward to support the construction of a correctional facility in the region.
“We have to make a statement, it is a big issue. Every city in the Valley is taking a stand and we are just sitting here very quiet,” said director Jackie Frederick. “I think there is significant benefit to the City of Penticton regardless of where it is built in the South Okanagan.”
In a recent chamber survey, 57 per cent of members who responded were in favour of having a correctional facility built within the city limits, although some qualified that with they wanted to know where exactly that would be. Another 41 per cent opposed having the facility in Penticton, with the remainder undecided.
Past-president Cary Schneiderat told the chamber at their meeting on Wednesday morning that he had been approached by some council members saying the chamber is being “conspicuously quiet” and questioning why that is. The motion to support the facility passed by a vote of 6-3.
“We might have some members that are opposed, but for me leadership comes in making decisions, and it is not always about keeping everyone happy. Being one of the leaders in this community, the chamber needs to take a stance. And yes, we may alienate a few, but I think we can justify the decision in being in the best interests of this community, our members and the city,” said Schneiderat.
“I think leadership comes with tough decisions sometimes and this is the time to take a stance.”