Ministry confirms prison on schedule

Ministry confirms prison on schedule

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For those wondering what’s happening with the correctional centre in Oliver, it’s on schedule, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Ministry spokesperson Tasha Schollen told the Chronicle that construction is expected to commence with preliminary site work in early to mid-2013.

“Currently we are working to finalize a number of business requirements as the next step in moving this project forward, and we are engaged in discussions with the Osoyoos Indian Band on land, utilities and impacts on local community planning.”

But Chief Clarence Louie said the ministry keeps saying it should pass through the BC government capital works system any month.

“First it was September, then they said we should hear in October. The last call I got was there should be an announcement in December.”

Louie said the ministry has a long tendering process. “Remember, it is a $200 million project. They hope to pick the head contractor before the winter of 2013 and start construction in 2014.”

The correctional centre will have 360 cells and is a “secure” facility, which is the highest security classification in BC Corrections, Schollen said.

During construction, the project will generate up to 500 direct construction jobs and up to 500 indirect jobs, she pointed out.

The centre will directly employ about 240 correctional staff. In addition, a number of contracted staff will work on site, such as nurses, doctors, dentists, food service workers, trades personnel and counsellors.

Schollen reiterated the facility will use cutting edge supervision and surveillance technology that will contribute to safety for both staff and inmates.

As part of the province’s commitment to green and energy efficient buildings, the facility will be designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification and use wood in accordance with the BC Building Code and in keeping with the province’s Wood First Act.

Minister of Justice Shirley Bond told the Chronicle that the facility is a long-term investment in the government’s aggressive plan to expand correctional capacity.

“This project is on target and has the potential to bring incredible and long-lasting economic benefits to the South Okanagan, including the significant number of family-supporting jobs.”

Bond said they are excited to work with an economic driver such as the Osoyoos Indian Band.

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