Letter to the Editor: Open Letter

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Dear Editor,

An open letter to the Premier.  Premier Ford,

Do you agree with the Solicitor General’s guarantee? 13 million dollar contribution for a water treatment for a 235 bed prison facility to be put in Kemptville, on top of $235 million to build the prison? And then the roads may need a contribution and staff on top of that! Is this good management of Ontario Tax Dollars? And, it will destroy historic arable farm land, when food instability is increasing!?

My sense of humour just won over an angry response when I read the announcement of the contribution guarantee. And, apparently, the bill for ongoing water consumption by the facility will also be paid. Does the Solicitor General and our MPP, Steve Clark, have a bottomless budget, that apparently such a guarantee can be made? Or are there plans to expand this facility in the future? Who knows?

Well I hope that guarantee was in writing! A facility for a mere 235 people increasing a community project by 32.5 %? The population of North Grenville is just over 18,000 people; a large number on septic, owner-financed infrastructure. The town of Kemptville has a population of 3,911, according to the 2016 census, perhaps now somewhat over 4,000 people. Does it make sense to you that Ontario will support such an expenditure for 235 people in prison, while for about 4,000 people increasing with new developments, the expenditure is 62.5% of the total? The cost: “The current estimated capital cost of the project is $39,390,000” (remember the context of this extra expenditure is the gigantic provincial debt, and is just shy of double the figures presented for the plant in the 2015 plan).

If Taxpayers Dollars will not be used, where will Ontario, the Solicitor General, North Grenville, and the proposed prison project get their dollars from?

That is the point where I am confused! The last time I looked, the residents of North Grenville and area are Ontario Tax Payers. All Ontario tax payers, as far as I understand, pay into the Ontario Treasury. The residents of North Grenville also pay municipal taxes. So, does the announcement mean municipal tax and Ontario tax dollars will not be used? How will the various government levels go about paying the $10 million loan +++ etc?

I know that my question sounds absurd, but then, is it, in the face of the explanation?

Is this prison project logical and good management of resources? It failed the criteria for placement in Kemptville, but Solicitor General and MPP Steve Clark continue to insist it is as first announced, “unalterable”; and seemingly will cost $235 million, plus $13 million, plus other unknown inflation amounts.

Do you, as I do, find it absurd that this historic farmland in 2022 is the site of the Ontario Ploughing Match and Agricultural Expo, and then destroyed and put under an unbelievably expensive prison / correctional facility for 235 prisoners/inmates?

I end with a strong sense of disappointment at the destruction of the agricultural possibilities of this land, without prior consultation with the affected residents of North Grenville!

Mr. Premier and MPPs, please take a serious look at this project.

Best wishes,
Nadia Gray

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