Prison decision must be made

Lumby residents — both within the village and the in rural area — have been left hanging.

Lumby residents — both within the village and the in rural area — have been left hanging.

It was back in April that residents went to the polls over the contentious issue of a correctional centre and village council decided to formally bid for a facility.

Since then, there has been absolutely no word from the provincial government although  the Ministry of Public Safety forced a deadline for applications on to communities.

Relationships between friends, neighbours and, in some cases, relatives, have been strained over a prison in Lumby. While some favour a facility as a way of bolstering the economy, others fear that a jail will change the very character of the community. The April referendum divided residents in the village from their rural counterparts.

Mayor Kevin Acton, rightly so, is concerned about what the wait is doing to Lumby.

“With all the community has been through, it deserves to have some answers,” he said.

Beyond the emotional aspects, the village doesn’t know if it should start planning for expanded infrastructure like water or sewer, or if another economic catalyst should be sought.

Ministry officials defend the process, saying that time is needed so they can “give all of our options careful consideration to ensure we get it right.”

Such due diligence is welcome given that a prison is a large financial investment and any negative impact on the host community should be minimized.

But until there is an announcement made, the fear of the unknown may be worse than the actual decision.

—Vernon Morning Star