Director lobbied on jail

Rural Lumby’s elected representative is under pressure to take a vocal stand against a prison.

Rick Fairbairn met with a group opposed to a correctional facility Wednesday. They demanded he ask the Village of Lumby to withdraw its bid for a jail and that he write the provincial government outlining the concerns of his constituents.

“He has to listen to his electorate,” said Huguette Allen, group spokesperson.

“He needs to put aside his personal feelings and represent us. If he doesn’t, we will keep on top of it.”

During a recent referendum, 56 per cent of those who voted in the village said yes to a prison while 44 per cent said no. In adjacent Area D (rural Lumby) of the North Okanagan Regional District, 34 per cent voted yes while 66 per cent voted no.

“The community voted all together 56 per cent against,” said Allen.

Lumby council has decided to pursue a prison based on the results within the village, and Allen says that is wrong.

“We were told we could all vote and our vote counts. We voted no and we don’t want it.”

Fairbairn insists he has been active on the prison issue.

“I represent the no side because of the vote we had,” he said.

“I have already notified Lumby council and our MLA of our area’s position but I will forward a letter to the government.”

Fairbairn hasn’t decided what to do with the request to ask Lumby to withdraw its application.

“I told them (opponents) I will forward any information to any agencies they felt are important to be notified,” he said.

Kevin Acton, Lumby mayor, is aware of the pressure being placed on Fairbairn.

“Rick has his job to do and he needs to do what he needs to do,” said Acton.

However, Acton says council will not let the rural area dictate what occurs in the village.

 

“We did consider how Area D voted but enough people in the village wanted us to move forward. I also want to see what the government will negotiate,” he said.