Questions on prison remain for public

The dogs have been let out as to potential locations for the proposed, for the lack of a more refined name, “attitude adjustment venue.” Irrespective of what side each of us might be on, there are some realistic issues that were brought out at the information session held recently.

The dogs have been let out as to potential locations for the proposed, for the lack of a more refined name, “attitude adjustment venue.” Irrespective of what side each of us might be on, there are some realistic issues that were brought out at the information session held recently.

The paramount concern of the majority of council would seem to be economic improvement. There is no real question as to the impact this “steel and concrete monolith” might have locally.

However, having said that, have real issues been dealt with to promote new economic industrial growth or individual new business growth in this city? We are given to believe that the long arm of the city is being extended to “would-be industrial and/or small businesses alike,” and there are few takers. Why is this, you might ask? There are many reasons both politically based and economically based. These are too detailed to deal within this writing. Most of us have heard the rhetoric and have listened to it over and over again. In the final analysis, excuses don’t get things done. Having said that, back to the point of this.

It seems that council, in its wisdom, is looking for an economic fix. It would seem that this monster project would be that quick fix, if you will. One only has to look at the way business is done by both small businesses and large businesses alike. Common sense tells us that each business has a certain number of clients. Some of these are larger and some smaller. However, all contribute to the make or break of a particular business.

The commonality here is the fact that no business large or small can rely on one “heavy-hitter account” to sustain it. Having been in business, I realize that the customer that spends $2 on a relatively regular basis at my place of business is just as important as the customer who spends $200 once in a while. We are led to believe that this “proposed customer” would be such an economic boon to our economy. Didn’t the powers that be hear what was said, “There are no guarantees?” Evidently the “economic concerns” (i.e. tax revenues et al) appear to be the mainstay. While there might be job possibilities for locals, no one knows how many or what they might be.

Common sense tells us that many local businesses might experience economic benefits. No question of that. However, the cart seems to be ahead of the horse as no one knows who would construct this institution. Would the contractor be local or out of town? Forty year longevity is all well and good if you want your town known as “prison city.” Imagine, your kids, grandkids and their kids will have to look at this monstrosity for 40 years. What a legacy for them.

I wonder if the all-knowing provincial pundits have considered locating this “arena of correction” in, or around, the Peachland area. The area that I was thinking about was the Brenda Mine site area. There is an ample water supply with several lakes around. The road access is relatively good. The accessibility to courts in Penticton, Kelowna or Kamloops is relatively easy. It is remote enough so as to not affect real estate values of local residents, as there aren’t many in that area. There are many plus factors and a few negative factors to this proposal.

All said and done, there needs to be a change in thinking and some real, honest effort promotion in order to better the economic climate here as well as preserve the tourist climate that currently exists. There needs to be a real effort to attract business ventures and not just idle chat. Excuses don’t get things done. They never have and they never will. The “heavy hitter scenario” is not the answer to the economic problems of the city, contrary to what some politicos might think!

Ron Barillaro

Penticton