Prison meeting process draws fire

The Village of Lumby is drawing fire for its handling of an upcoming meeting on the prison issue.

Council has decided that residents will have to provide questions in advance to the village office or at the door for the March 23 information session.

“I wonder if council is wanting to maintain control over who speaks or what questions are asked at the meeting?” said Paul Fisher, with Lumby Concerned Citizens, which opposes a correctional facility.

“If it’s control council wants, why? If council is acting out of fear, what are they afraid of?”

Fisher suggests that the only action required is asking residents attending the meeting to place their names on a list indicating that they want to speak.

“In Summerland and Penticton, there was an open microphone format and people could just come up and ask their questions,” he said.

Fisher’s accusations caught Mayor Kevin Acton off guard.

“We are doing exactly what they did at their own public meeting,” said Acton of asking for questions in advance.

“We wanted to follow a format that they prefer.”

Acton insists council is not trying to control debate, but wants to ensure there is some decorum at the March 23 meeting.

“We wanted to keep it from being a yelling and shouting fest,” he said.

“There is no question that won’t be asked. We don’t have a problem with changing the format. I have to talk to council about it but I don’t think it’s an issue to do that.”

The March 23 public information session will get underway at at 7 p.m. at Charles Bloom Secondary School.

Lumby residents will go to the polls April 30 to vote on whether they support pursuing the development of a provincial correction centre in the village.