The NG Times put some questions to local M.P.P., Steve Clark, following the announcement that a new prison, the Greater Ottawa Correctional Facility, would be located in Kemptville. It is an issue that has raised serious concerns among residents, and it seemed right that the Minister for Municipal Affairs and Housing should respond to those worries. From what he says here, it does seem that the planned public consultations will be pro forma and that the new facility is a done deal.
NG Times: When do you expect the public consultation to begin, and what form will it take?
Steve Clark: The Ministry of the Solicitor General will provide details in the coming weeks regarding the extensive community consultation that will take place prior to any development happening on the site.
It’s important for residents to understand we’re in the very early stages of a deliberative and important process. Consultation will include meetings with local stakeholders including municipalities and community organizations as well as public engagement sessions.
My office also remains available to answer questions as the process moves forward.
NG Times: How was the Kemptville site chosen, given that it is adjacent to schools, day care centres and the hospital?
Steve Clark: The site was chosen after an extensive review by the government as part of its modernization strategy for the corrections and justice system in Eastern Ontario. The Kemptville location is part of the province’s surplus property inventory. Building the complex on this site provides good value for tax-payers as it avoids the need to purchase privately owned land elsewhere.
The investments will ensure corrections staff has state-of-the-art facilities to do their jobs safely and to provide additional space to deliver programming and rehabilitative services to those in custody. My commitment to the community is to ensure that the safety of our community and corrections staff will be the top priority in the design, construction and operation of this new facility.
NG Times: What role did you play as MPP and Minister for Municipal Affairs in the choosing of the site?
Steve Clark: I’m excited about this significant provincial investment in North Grenville, as it will have a tremendously positive economic impact. It will cre-ate good-paying, stable jobs that will attract new families to the community, while providing economic spin-offs to local businesses. While I recognize that residents have questions, as is to be expected with any large-scale project, I’m confident that the public consultation process will demonstrate how this investment will benefit the region for years to come.
NG Times: Why was there no consultation with the local mayor and council before the announcement?
Steve Clark: The province has the sole discretion to locate provincial corrections facilities. However, there will be extensive consultation with the municipality prior to the project proceeding to construction.
NG Times: To what extent is this a done deal, or is it possible to review the decision in the light of the public consultations?
Steve Clark: The government’s intention is to proceed with construction of the facility following a robust consultation with the community. It is important that we take the time to consult to avoid the pitfalls of building quickly, but poorly.