Ministry of Public Safety officials certainly tried to present themselves as impartial during an information centre on a proposed correctional centre Wednesday.
“I’m not here to sell anything,” said Brent Merchant, assistant deputy minister of the corrections branch.
“I’m not wearing a yes button or a no button. I’m just here to answer questions.”
But through all of the information provided, there was little critical commentary about prisons or the inmates inside. To listen to the presentation, there is absolutely no negative impact on a community hosting a jail.
Of course such a response is to be expected.
One of the government’s mandates is to find a place for a much-needed facility in this region and Lumby is on the list of potential candidates.
Certainly there were some frustrated residents as the speakers did not provide precise answers over specific pieces of property, how much money the village would get in grants, if the province would fund infrastructure upgrades or what Lumby’s chances are of getting a prison. To be fair, though, there is a process underway, and given that grants and infrastructure would depend on negotiations, there is no way to present firm details.
The other hurdle is that while the ministry’s representatives likely lean towards the party line, there was little chance that the information provided Wednesday was sinking in.
Many residents on both sides of the contentious issue have already made up their minds on a prison and it’s not likely information from Wednesday’s meeting changed that situation.