South Okanagan prison reaches two milestones

Agreement signed between province and Osoyoos Indian Band for land lease for jail which is anticipated to be opened by 2016.

The Okanagan Correctional Centre reached two major milestones today with the signing of historic agreements between government and the Osoyoos Indian Band and the short-listing of three proponents that will move to the next stage of the competitive selection process for the project.

The province said two “crucial contracts” were signed on Wednesday to secure the future of the Okanagan Correctional Centre project by laying out the details of the land lease and utilities service for a 60-year period, plus an option for an additional 20 years. The partnership to build the new correctional centre on Osoyoos Indian Band land is the first such partnership between B.C. Corrections and a First Nations in British Columbia.

“It is the centrepiece of the second phase of the largest capital expansion in B.C. Corrections’ history and will increase corrections capacity to meet current and future demand. This project will see 1,000 jobs during the construction phase and 240 permanent jobs once the project is complete. It is an important part of our job creation strategy,” said Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Shirley Bond.

Bond also announced the three teams selected to submit a proposal to design, build, partially finance and maintain the Okanagan Correctional Centre project. B.C. Community Partners, Brookfield-EllisDon-Fengate Justice Partners and Plenary Justice were selected through a evaluation of submissions received through a request for qualifications and have now qualified to participate in the request for proposals process. Construction is expected to commence immediately after the signing of a fixed-price, performance-based project agreement which is expected by early 2014. The province said they expect the Okanagan Correctional Centre to be open in 2016.

When completed, the Okanagan Correctional Centre will more than double corrections capacity in B.C.’s Interior and will enhance public safety for communities, correctional staff and inmates throughout the province. The government stated the correctional centre will create up to 500 direct and 500 indirect construction jobs, as well as approximately 240 new, full-time correctional positions when the centre opens.

“The signing of the land lease and utilities contacts with the government creates a long-term commitment to the project and builds on our band’s history of success as a major economic driver in our region,” said Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Clarence Louie. “Together we are leading the way on this innovative partnership, which is the first of its kind between B.C. Corrections and a First Nations.”