Okanagan community leaders meet to discuss ‘visions’

Officials from Kelowna, Lake Country and the Okanagan Indian Band were supposed to meet at the end of the month to discuss all the hubbub around utilizing this city’s jail-zoned site, for an actual jail.

Turned out, however, that Mayor Sharon Shepherd’s request to schedule that meeting was largely for naught after Solicitor General Rich Coleman announced the old Hiriam Walker site had been out of the running for some time.

Officials intend to convene nonetheless, although the agenda will likely be chock full with less controversial matters.

“Now we will be able to share what visions we have about our communities,” said Shepherd of the meeting that will be held Feb. 28 at the Ramada on Highway 97.

 Although Kelowna is out of the running — having decided against choosing  another jail site —for the provincial prison, Okanagan communities south and north of this city are actively vying for the project to be built within their municipal boundaries.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen,  Summerland council, and Penticton council seem to support the idea for the positive economic impact it will have, while the Penticton Indian band are waiting for more community feedback.  And March 8 the Solicitor General will meet with community groups to identify which sites they think are ideal for the 360 cell jail.

The Village of Lumby is also pursuing the plan and will hold a referendum April 30 to gauge voters’ support.