Timeline begins to take shape for work on Okanagan jail

Correctional centre could bring upgrades to Highway 97 and higher caseload for Penticton courthouse

The MLA for the Boundary Similkameen hopes the business plan for the jail to be built on the Osoyoos Indian Band land will be complete in three months.

MLA John Slater said he spoke with the minister last week to get an update on the business plan and timing of when the design phase could get started.

“If we drag it out three or four years that is kind of silly, so we are trying to get the business plan together and ideally we would like to start construction early in 2013,” said Slater.

“Whether that is possible, well, it’s going to be tough but we are working on it. We want to make sure we do it once and do it right, but between the Osoyoos Indian Band, Okanagan College and federal and provincial government, we are all trying to make this thing happen as reasonably quick as possible.”

Slater said in the update given by the minister he was told it will take 60 to 90 days for the business plan to be complete. Once that is finished, it will identify the timelines. The next phase is to have design work done and then it will go out to tender for the contract to build.

“We all want to get it going. The prison is not only just going to help the local economy with jobs. Those are going to spin off and keep the arenas open, the curling clubs open, the swimming pools, the hospital, the schools — that is the biggest part on this,” said Slater.

After the province announced the site selection in February, Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond said it takes about four years to build a correctional facility the size of the one proposed in the South Okanagan. She suggested the province would be “pushing the envelope” to get it complete by 2015 and it would more likely be early 2016.

Slater said the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure has looked at the intersection at Senkulmen Enterprise Park and deemed that the area would not need any realignment due to traffic generated by the jail. But, Slater said, there is four-lane construction work that is being looked at north of MacIntyre Bluff. Work to improve the safety at the Vaseux Lake corner and another just south of Gallagher Lake is also being considered. A land transaction or swap with a private landowner would need to take place at the Gallagher Lake corner.

Upon the completion of the jail at Senkulmen Enterprise Park, it is suspected that more court time would be needed in Penticton to deal with cases. Premier Christy Clark previously told the Western News that she could not confirm that with the announcement of the jail being built in the South Okanagan would mean the Penticton courthouse would expand. The province did, however, appoint one new judge, Gregory Korturbash, to Penticton in February.

Clark also announced in February that the province is launching a reform initiative to address the lack of effectiveness in B.C.’s justice system by conducting a complete review. B.C. spends over $1 billion annually on its public safety and justice system, but crime has declined at a faster rate than in any other province.

The premier said it is an average of six times a person has to go to court before a trial and that is just one aspect that needs to be investigated in how to lower that to free up time of sheriffs, judges and the courts. Clark said during this review period all courthouses in the province, including Penticton, would be investigated for inefficiencies and recommendations on how to improve them.

 

Just Posted

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Goosebumps helped scare off predators

Your morning start for Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Sue Birds captured this sunset photo that took place in between the rain and thunder Monday night, June 15, 2021. (Sue Birds)
Stormy sunsets over Okanagan Valley

Monday night had thunder, rain and stunning sunsets

Owner Daren McWhinney is really excited about the new location of Angry Vegan which just opened up at 536 Main Street. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton’s Main Street turns into foodie heaven

Angry Vegan, Wild Ginger, Twisted Chopsticks and Gratify recently opened

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

Most Read