Hansma targets prison

If Spallumcheen residents felt opposed to nuns, imagine how they’ll feel about prisoners.

Such was the sentiment expressed by Coun. Janice Brown Monday when Mayor Will Hansma publicly declared he’d like to see a correctional facility in the township if Lumby decides not to house one.

“May I remind you of the uproar when we built the nunnery, people didn’t want a lot of nuns,” said Brown.

“I would imagine there’s a lot less crime with nuns than with a prison. People didn’t like the extra water use by the nuns, the extra sewer use. I’d hate to think what a correctional facility would do.”

During his mayor’s report, Hansma told his council that there is support to housing a new provincial correctional facility somewhere in the Okanagan, and that the North Okanagan should be the area to benefit.

He stated that Lumby is pushing to house such a facility, but noted there is a strong opposition from village and nearby residents.

That’s when Hansma offered up the township as a potential site.

“If a correctional facility is not established in Lumby and doesn’t move elsewhere, I can say that I will be lobbying to all members of council and senior levels of government that a correctional facility be built in Spallumcheen,” said Hansma.

The mayor pointed out that the township has land bases that can accommodate such a facility, including Crown land far removed from residents and businesses.

“There would be no cost to any taxpayer in the township to build a facility on Crown land,” said Hansma, who believes housing a correctional facility in the North Okanagan would give the area a huge economic advantage.

“It would unquestionably give us a huge advantage in terms of our service industry, our infrastructure and our police services would be greatly enhanced if we have a facility here.”

Despite Brown’s warning, and concerns voiced by Lumby opposition about the potential for increased crime and prisoners escaping, Hansma said the township should pursue the correctional facility if Lumby doesn’t want it.

“You’re more than likely to be struck by lightning than you are being harmed by someone who escapes from a correctional establishment,” said Hansma.

“It seldom happens and the statistics prove that.”

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