The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen supports exploring the possibility of a prison.
Chairperson Dan Ashton asked for backing on the motion and was given unanimous approval at the RDOS regular board meeting.
“What I am asking the board is for their endorsement that this should be looked at, not asked for a rubber stamp on it, but the board ask that the South Okanagan-area be considered by the province for the opportunity of establishing a facility in our region,” he said.
Penticton has already expressed the same interest and although Summerland does not meet all of the requirements to host a provincial prison, council there is also seeking public input on a proposed correctional facility.
Area F director Michael Brydon said there are issues to think about if they were to be granted the opportunity to build a 360-cell correctional centre in the Okanagan for use starting in 2015.
“When you say Kingston, Ont. people don’t think history, Great Lakes — they think of prisons. I think there is a very real branding risk out there of having something out there called the Penticton or Summerland institution.”
Some of the criteria for a prison in the Okanagan includes a buildable area of about eight hectares; serviced for electricity, gas, water and sewer; minimal probability of a First Nations claim; not in the Agricultural Land Reserve and within a 70-minute drive from courts in Kelowna and Vernon.