Council bungles prison issue

It’s easy to see why some Lumby residents feel a correctional facility is being forced on them.

It’s easy to see why some Lumby residents feel a correctional facility is being forced on them.

Despite claims from council that it’s just providing information to residents and the final decision rests with the public, the village is orchestrating a significant sales pitch in favour of a prison.

First, there was the open house last spring that was stacked with so-called experts who painted positive scenarios about prisons. Glossy brochures printed by the provincial government were also handed out.

Now council is running advertising that apparently provides information about correctional facilities. Except the details come from the same government that’s urging towns to bid for a prison. To meet its goal, Victoria is going to paint jails as a beacon for job creation and public safety.

Any perception that a final decision may be left up to Lumby residents was undermined when Mayor Kevin Acton asked other communities to write the government in support of a prison. It’s easy for Vernon, Enderby or Armstrong to do so because they won’t have to endure any negative consequences that may occur.

One also has to wonder why meeting an arbitrary government deadline for submitting bids for a prison is more important than the basic principles of democracy. Such a significant issue should go to referendum, and if that means Victoria must wait a few weeks for an answer, so be it.

Ultimately, it was council, and not residents, who brought the concept of a prison forward. And as time goes on, it appears that council’s primary interest is defending an ill-conceived process.