Steve Clark talks about the proposed prison

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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.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Since when did farmland become “surplus land”?? Keep this up and we will be eating produce and meat from every country except ours!!

  2. Our MPP seemed to have omitted his response to the question about his role in selecting the site for this prison. Notwithstanding that point,
    I truly hope the ‘robust consultations’ will showcase the solidarity in our community and the collective opinion that this is not something we want in our neighbourhood. Kemptville is growing for all the right reasons currently, this prison facility will change that progress and forever change the face of our town.
    Let’s come together, united in voice, to reject this prison’s location and stand up to preserve the growth, prosperity and sanctity of our town that I personally have called home for 30+ years. There are a number of strong points to be made to justify an alternative location, all of which I will bring to the consultations when they occur. Citing positive economic impact, creating good-paying, stable jobs, attracting new families and providing economic spin-offs to local businesses is standard messaging for any large infrastructure placing its enormous footprint in your community, the fact remains, that messaging can be short-sighted and the positive aspects quickly lose their lustre. Don’t take it from me, take it from the citizens of Joyceville, Millhaven and countless other towns, known not for their beauty but rather for their institutional facility. I’m not normally one to rock the boat when it comes to political decisions, yet I find myself angered and a bit possessive of wanting to preserve what we have and what we will have in the future, a future that doesn’t need bricks, mortar fencing, barbed wire, security cameras etc. etc. in our landscape. Seize the moment and tell your MPP, thanks but no thanks to the maximum security provincial penitentiary.

  3. Not sure where you saw it stated that it was not a maximum security prison but the basis of my statement came from an article in InsideOttawaValley.com, which stated the following:

    3. WHAT LEVEL OF SECURITY WILL THE FACILITY HAVE?

    According to Stephen Warner from the office of the Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, it will be a maximum security correctional facility.

    MPP Steve Clark’s executive assistant Michael Jiggins added that “these are inmates who would be on sentences of two years less a day or those awaiting trial.”

    According to the Ministry of the Solicitor General website, correctional centres house sentenced offenders typically serving periods of incarceration from 60 days to a maximum of two years less a day.

    • You will see in this week’s Times (September 30) an article containing responses to an email sent to Steve Clark, It says:
      “The facility would have inmates over the age of 18 who fall under the following: Those serving sentences under two years. Those on remand awaiting trial or sentencing. Those being held for an immigration hearing or deportation.
      This is not a maximum security institution, as that is a designation in the federal prison system for inmates serving lengthy sentences after being convicted of the most serious offences. As a modern, publicly run correctional facility staffed by the finest corrections officers anywhere, security will be stringent.”
      Your source has the wrong information.

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