Prison debate drives process

Lumby residents could soon have their say on the future of a proposed prison.

Council discussed options for public input Monday, and the process could either occur through referendum or a phone survey within the next few months.

“There’s a large push from part of the community wanting it, but there’s been a rash of letters from people who don’t want it,” said Mayor Kevin Acton.

“We need a thorough assessment of what people want.”

Some council members are leaning towards a phone poll because the provincial government is wanting to hear from Okanagan communities by April on potential locations for a 360-cell prison.

“We couldn’t go to referendum until April and the government wants a response by the beginning of April,” said Coun. Janet Green.

“The community is bubbling with nays and yays so it would be good to have an answer and put a lid on it. The issue is creating a bit of a rift in the community.”

Coun. Lori Mindnich says there is a need for residents to provide council with direction.

“We hear both sides for and against and it would be good to know how many want it and how many don’t,” she said.

Acton supports a phone survey which would be conducted by a professional polling company.

“It’s faster than a ballot referendum and it will be more accurate because you get everyone instead of those who just vote in a referendum,” he said.

“People can provide their number to us so they have their say.”

Addresses would be reviewed to confirm survey participants live within the village boundaries.

It’s expected that a decision on a phone survey or a referendum will be made at the Feb. 7 council meeting.

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