Handpicked Lumby residents taken on tour of jail

Lobbying for a prison in Lumby is hitting the road.

Lobbying for a prison in Lumby is hitting the road.

Members of council will take about 10 residents to Kamloops Feb. 9 to tour the correctional facility there as part of the village’s interest in having a jail constructed in Lumby.

“We’ve invited some people who are stakeholders — key people in the community,” said Mayor Kevin Acton.

“They can see what the facility is like themselves and ask questions.”

Acton says there are a lot of rumours and speculation about the potential impact of a correctional facility and he hopes the tour will lead to residents becoming more aware of the facts.

“For me, the big issue is getting information out to people.”

Coun. Lori Mindnich believes it will be beneficial if some residents get to see the Kamloops jail.

“They will realize how close it is to people. There is an elementary school close by and a new subdivision,” she said.

“This is an attempt to ease people’s minds.”

According to the village, the individuals selected for the tour will go to Kamloops in council members’ private vehicles, and the cost of the trip should be minimal.

“It will be whatever the mileage is to Kamloops and back,” said Frank Kosa, chief administrative officer, adding that Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre is providing lunch.

A group known as Lumby Concerned Citizens has accused council of promoting a prison without having a mandate from residents to do so. But Acton disagrees that council is overstepping its authority.

“We’re not doing anything the community doesn’t want us to do. The decision was to seek information,” he said of feedback from the community.

“We’re putting information out so people can be informed. I’d be circumventing the process if we got the information from the government and just told council, ‘Let’s do it.’”

Lumby Concerned Citizens is also demanding a referendum on the issue instead of possibly a telephone survey to determine public opinion.

“The timeline the provincial government has set (for indicating interest in a prison) doesn’t leave a lot of time for a referendum,” said Acton.

“From what I understand, the survey process is fair and would give us a good idea of where Lumby stands.”