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Chamber undecided on prison

Lumby’s voice of business is remaining silent so far on the prospect of a prison.

The Lumby Chamber of Commerce has not taken an official stand on whether the community should bid for a correctional facility. Instead, members were surveyed and several actions have been initiated.

“On Jan. 21, a presentation was made to chamber executive by a delegation as well as the mayor in favour of the correctional facility. Material presented at that meeting is available for review at the chamber office,” said president Bill Maltman.

“At this time, a meeting is scheduled for the chamber executive to hear from a delegation opposed to the correctional facility. We have invited the mayor to be in attendance as well.”

On Feb. 16, the chamber will host a meeting for all members to discuss the proposed correctional facility.

“The chamber recognizes that this issue is quite controversial and our chamber’s mandate is to represent the concerns of all of our members through an equal and democratic process,” said Maltman.

“As a membership-based organization, the chamber continues to support building a strong area economy and is proud to represent our businesses throughout the region. The chamber executive will continue to listen and compile as much information as possible in order to make informed decisions.”

However, at least one businessperson is urging the community to pursue a correctional facility.

“I had concerns about the cost and safety but most of them have been allayed,” said Doug Brown, a chartered accountant.

“The majority of businesspeople are in favour of it. They see the economic benefits.”

While some residents have suggested that village council has gone beyond providing information and is openly promoting a prison, Brown disagrees.

“It’s council’s responsibility to investigate opportunities. They aren’t trying to ram it down anyone’s throat,” he said.

Brown is concerned the issue is dividing the community, and the ongoing debate will force the provincial government to select another community for the facility.

“If we don’t get behind saying we’re interested, we’ll be fighting a battle with Penticton,” he said.

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