Since the subject of a potential federal prison near Kimberley was floated at an RDEK committee meeting a couple of weeks ago, there has been much discussion in the community on the merits of the idea.
However, Mayor Ron McRae is emphatic that a prison is not something the City is endorsing, nor does he feel it is a good fit with City objectives.
“There seems to some confusion out there with respect to where the City of Kimberley stands regarding a penal institution within or outside the city limits, especially given the idea was floated by a member of Kimberley City Council,” McRae said.
That member of council was Don McCormick, who is from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, which has three prisons: the Prince Albert Correctional Centre, Pine Grove Correctional Centre and the Saskatchewan Federal Penitentiary.
“It should be made abundantly clear that the City of Kimberley is neither condoning nor involved in the discussions concerning a federal maximum security penal institution or any other type of federal penal institution,” McRae said.
“As recently reported, the discussions with the RDEK about developing a penal institution have nothing to do with your municipality, its staff and team, or official mayor and council business.
“The current administration does not recognize it as an initiative, let alone a recommendation or consideration.”
The mayor says the City is intent on developing opportunities that are a good fit for the community and its future.
“The City continues to increase economic diversity, development, sustainability and employment. We are not a community that will desperately capitulate to any type of business development or consideration. Our children and working people deserve businesses that provide for our community’s sustainability and future, and that fit with our values, culture and lifestyle.
“The results of last year’s community engagement do not indicate that a penal institution would be a good fit for the community and future objectives. What we need now is a coming together around the new communication tools and strategies recently developed as key parts of the City’s plans to attract and diversify our economic landscape, not a pulling apart around such a potentially divisive issue as a maximum security penal institution. The community and municipality are committed to attracting new businesses, more residents and more visitors.
“A penal institution is not a part of the City’s strategic considerations.”