Open letter to Solicitor General and Steve Clark

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Dear Ms. Jones and Mr. Clark,

We are writing to you today in advance of the planned engagement session to take place on or about November 17, 2021 regarding the proposed Eastern Ontario Correctional Complex, to be located in Kemptville, Ontario. We have recently received notification of the planned session that has been described as public engagement with a stated scope to include facility design and future engagement plans.

The Jail Opposition Group, on behalf of residents in the town of Kemptville and its surrounding municipality of North Grenville, want to reiterate that we have deep rooted concerns with the fact that the decision to locate the proposed prison in our rural town was taken without any knowledge, consultation, nor consideration of the citizens or our local government. Since the August 2020 announcement, our concerns have broadened from a number of different perspectives that we and our fellow residents have communicated directly to you.

Our community continues to seek answers to important questions that were provided to the Ministry of the Solicitor General in November 2020, based on their request. Many other important questions have been posed since that time, which also remain unanswered. Planning an engagement session on facility design, seemingly bypassing the fundamental questions posed, conveys an indifferent and dismissive approach, unbecoming of our government officials.

We are requesting that the engagement session planned for November 17, 2021 be held in Kemptville. Our community desires an open meeting, face to face that focuses on bridging the gaps of information in areas of site selection, facility expansion, absence of social services and infrastructure, and demystifying claims of both positive and negative impacts on our town and its residents.

Our community feels it has had no voice in this process to date and with that, a sense of disrespect has emerged. The residents of our town have a binding stake in its future.
Rebuilding confidence in the Ministry’s statements of transparency in this process is necessary. It is believed that an in-person meeting, in addition to an online presence for those with an inability to attend in person, hosted by the Ministry of the Solicitor General would be a step in the right direction to attempt to accomplish this.

We are pleased that capacity limits have been lifted in the vast majority of settings where proof of vaccination is required, including indoor meeting and event spaces effective October 25, 2021.

The removal of capacity limits will enable the engagement session to take place in the community to which you desire to place this facility and speak directly with the citizens that may become neighbors to it.

We trust this is a reasonable request and one that is necessary in working toward a goal of improved mutual understanding of the issues at hand.

We look forward to your acknowledgement of and response to our request.

Sincerely,
Kirk Albert
(on behalf of the Jail Opposition Group)

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