Prison would hurt tourism

I am very opposed to the installation of a prison in Penticton, as is anyone I have spoken with about this.

Becoming a prison town will thoroughly undermine the hard work so many citizens have contributed over the years to make Penticton a tourist destination. Once established, a negative stigma will be irreversible.

Our community is not large enough to disguise the negative impact of a prison. Our production base has diminished and we rely heavily on tourism.

Without a tourism economy, we will see the major percentage of Penticton businesses close or relocate away from the city, especially independent businesses, which circulate profits in the community. Property values will decline and the associative cost to live here will actually increase for each household. Vacant storefronts and rental homes will become boarded-up eyesores as property owners repair broken windows and minimize their insurance costs. Once-thriving hotels and motels will be driven to social assistance rentals or seek contracts with the penitentiary for inmates’ conjugal visits.

Think about it. Our property values and quality of life relate to many people’s desire to live here. Few people will choose to move to (or vacation in) a prison town. With a loss in value, property degradation will follow and Penticton will become derelict.

Simply accepting this facility will begin a mass exodus from the community, I am sure. No one wants to be the last holding the bag.

This facility will likely be reclassified once established and will most-assuredly become a privatized operation.

The legislature in Victoria must be laughing hysterically that we would even consider such a tenant, given that such moves are made by governments to remove people from their communities. Don’t be duped. And, beware government representatives who come bearing “gifts”.

It is sad that a community is so weak that it may bite at the rotten carrot it is offered. Will we be offered a virus lab or nuclear waste facility next?

Elected council should not dream to make this decision for their public. Such a potentially damaging decision must be made by the citizens.

Lindsey Hall