OSOYOOS - The Province has selected the Osoyoos Indian Band's proposed site, in the Senkulmen Enterprise Park on Highway 97, as the preferred location for a new Okanagan correctional centre, Premier Christy Clark announced.
"This project has the potential to bring incredible economic benefits to the South Okanagan and greater public safety for communities, correctional staff and inmates across our province," said Premier Clark. "We look forward to working in partnership with the Osoyoos Indian Band to complete a detailed business plan as the next step in moving this project forward."
The project will create up to 500 direct and 500 indirect jobs. On completion, the centre will provide the equivalent of 240 new, full-time positions and will more than double corrections capacity in B.C.'s Interior.
After a thorough evaluation of sites proposed by two communities and two bands, BC Corrections selected the industrial park as the best location for the 360-cell facility. Key considerations included project costs, zoning, environmental impacts, accessibility to major transportation routes and the projected completion date.
"The high-security, state-of-the-art centre we envision continues the record investments we are making in the corrections system," said Shirley Bond, Minister of Public Safety, Solicitor General and Attorney General. "We are currently completing the $185-million Phase 1 expansion plan and today's announcement begins the next phase. The Okanagan correctional centre will add new cells and more corrections officers and will go a long way toward addressing capacity needs in the system."
"Today's welcome news reflects well on the strength of the business case we presented and the confidence we and the Province feel in each other as partners in this significant project," said Chief Clarence Louie, Chief Executive Officer, Osoyoos Indian Band. "Our band owns the most businesses per capita of any First Nation in Canada, which makes us a major economic driver in our region. This project will only build on our history of success."
"In my decades of working for Osoyoos - with the chamber of commerce, on council and as its MLA - I can think of few developments promising the long-term economic benefits of this new centre," said Boundary-Similkameen MLA John Slater. "Many major business successes in our region have links to the Osoyoos Indian Band, and I believe the Province has made a very sound choice of partner for this project."
The 45-acre Senkulmen Enterprise Park lies 28 kilometres south of Penticton and seven kilometres north of Oliver. The project, the first partnership of its kind between BC Corrections and a First Nation, will be a key component of Phase 2 of the Province's historic corrections capital plan. The completed facility will contribute to an overall increase of almost 800 new cells on the Lower Mainland, in the Interior and in the North since 2008.
- In early May 2011, five local governments and First Nations - the Village of Lumby, District of Summerland, City of Penticton, Penticton Indian Band and Osoyoos Indian Band - proposed a total of 13 sites. BC Corrections staff visited all of the proposed sites and met with local government and First Nations staff.
- The City of Penticton subsequently rescinded its two site proposals in June 2011.
- A detailed evaluation based on the proposal information and site visits followed.
- The proposed Okanagan correctional centre will consist of 360 secure cells in 10 living units at an estimated construction cost of approximately $200 million.
- Construction timelines and a projected completion date will follow the development of the comprehensive business case during the ongoing planning phase. The project will be assessed for procurement as a public-private partnership.
- Three other capital projects have already been completed or are currently underway as part of Phase 1 of the Province's corrections capital plan:
- 20 new cells at Prince George Regional Correctional Centre (completed).
- 104 new cells at Alouette Correctional Centre for Women (nearing completion).
- 216 new cells at Surrey Pretrial Services Centre (site preparation began in January 2012).
- The Osoyoos Indian Band has 460 members, employs approximately 700 people and already contributes $40 million to the local economy. The band also administers its own health, social and educational services.
Learn more about BC Corrections: www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/corrections/index.htm
Visit the Osoyoos Indian Band's website: www.oib.ca/gateway.asp
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