Prison brings big billion dollar benefits

I first wish to apologize for writing so much this year. Soon, I will be in the category of Elvena Slump or Ron Barillaro. The issue is the prison vote.

Please get out and support it. I spent two days visiting various prisons, wardens, and police superintendents in the province in order to help make my determination to support it.

On my calculation, over a 10-year cycle, including construction costs, it will bring “new money” of $1 billion into our community, which with a recycled multiplier will bring tremendous economic benefits for this area and many jobs and increased happiness for many people who now struggle in our tourism cycle. With respect to safety, nothing is ever guaranteed as safe. The present newer prisons in B.C. contain every safety measure to prevent escape that there is.

Having toured the Fraser District Prison, the group was safely able to walk among the prisoners. The average detainee was there for 39 days.

For the most part they didn’t want their stay extended unnecessarily so were not looking for trouble. All the authorities I spoke to from wardens to guards indicated it is not customary for the prisoners to stay upon release.

In the community where the prison is located, they are in fact given a bus ticket to go home. Do you the reader realize that there are 2,800 plus or minus prisoners in B.C. institutions on an average day and 32,000 plus or minus out on parole, probation or remand or remained. Do we worry about them when they walk among us? I say no.

There are many other aspects of this prison I do not have room to write about in this short letter. Safe to say I have been satisfied that the present day prison is sophisticated and safe as humans can make it. It will bring 24/7 jobs that pay $60,000 – 70,000 per year which are desperately needed in the South Okanagan. The airport and court house will be improved. The SOEC will have good attendance.

I know that some of you including friends and business associates will not agree with the prison which I accept. We will have to agree to disagree on this one. I would ask you to place your confidence and trust in my opinion. If you cannot we will all still get along after this closes one way or another and I will still dedicate my personal efforts for you on any matter.

This is a major impetus for this region and it is important that you get to City Hall and vote as I am sure your vote will be heeded by the council members.

Thank you for taking your time to read this letter which strongly supports the concept of bringing a provincial prison to the South Okanagan.

I decided I would stand up for those who are in favour of the prison but did not wish to write for fear of what may be thought of them. If you are one of them I hope you now go and register your secret ballot.

Mike Pearce

Penticton councillor

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