It has been suggested in some local media recently that the prison is now a “dead issue”. Three South Okanagan communities (Summerland and the Penticton and Osoyoos Indian Bands) are still in the running for the prison, so how can the issue be “dead”?
And even in Penticton, where two-thirds of voters turned down the prison, it is still a very relevant topic in the municipal elections. When the people of Penticton voted down the prison, Coun. Mike Pearce proposed a motion to support any neighbouring community that wanted it. This motion was seconded by Coun. Sentes and also supported by Mayor Ashton and Couns. Jakubeit and Vassilaki. Only Coun. Gary Litke went along with the results of the community vote and voted against the motion. Letters signed by Mayor Ashton duly went out telling our neighbours that they could count on Penticton’s support to bring the prison to the South Okanagan.
So let’s be clear, voting for mayoral and council candidates who support the prison could still bring the prison very close to Penticton. As close as right next to the Cantex site on Okanagan Avenue, on one of the locations proposed by the Penticton Indian Band, a parcel of PIB land within city boundaries, which is to all intents and purposes right here in town.
The prison is by no means a dead issue.