Put prison to a vote

After having followed the controversy around the prison in Penticton, I am very disappointed in our council. When this council was elected, I felt happy and was confident that they would serve our needs and do what is good for Penticton. Now it’s obvious that they will not.

Apart from not offering any possible sites in the first place, they should at least hold a referendum on such an important issue. Then they would have proof that most people in Penticton do not want a prison, something they already know but choose to ignore.

I have not encountered one single person who is in favour of a prison here, everybody in his or her right mind would not want that unless there is some personal gain in it for them.

Everybody knows now that staff from other prisons will take the jobs, that they will want to live outside Penticton so that they don’t bump into ex-cons on their days off, and that therefore they will pay their taxes elsewhere. The benefits for Penticton will be minimal, the problems huge.

The letter from a resident of Prince George said it all: a crime ridden downtown and loads of other problems since the prison came. And the impact on Penticton, being small and having a great climate for people to hang around, will be even bigger.

Do we believe him, or do we believe Mike Pearce, who claims his dinner friend from the Prince George prison says it’s safer in a prison town because there is so much more police present. How wonderful to see police and ex-inmates everywhere you look.

We need a referendum or we should accept that we live in a totalitarian society where the powers that be can do whatever they please, while ignoring what their electorate wants.

Petra Bijvoet Schutte