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Plenary Justice selected as company that will build new correctional centre
Now that an infrastructure developer has been chosen to build the Okanagan Correctional Centre, Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells is throwing down the welcome mat to new residents.
“As a community we look forward to having new people move to Osoyoos,” said Wells, following the recent announcement that Plenary Justice was picked to bring the state-of-the-art facility to the South Okanagan.
Plenary Justice was chosen out of three teams that were shortlisted to submit proposals to design, build, partially finance and provide facilities management services for the prison.
The Plenary team includes: Plenary Group (Canada) Ltd.; PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc.; Honeywell Limited (Canada); DGBK Architects; and Jug Island Consulting Ltd.
The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services are working to conclude final negotiations with Plenary. The parties will engage in a process that is expected to result in the signing of a fixed price agreement by early spring 2014. Construction activities will begin shortly after.
The prison will cost approximately $200 million to build. The Ministry of Justice expects to start filling the 378-unit facility in the fall of 2016.
The high-security prison will be located in Senkulmen Business Park north of Oliver as part of a $10-million lease with the Osoyoos Indian Band.
Wells said new residents to the South Okanagan will be a great addition to local communities by bolstering schools, hospitals and social programs.
The mayor said Osoyoos town council has been a solid backer, booster, and supporter of this project since its inception.
“This project is a real shot in the arm to the whole South Okanagan,” said Wells.
Wells said the construction component will bring some very innovative construction models to the forefront.
He noted that council has had some great dialogue with BC Corrections about the employment opportunities for local residents and is very pleased to hear that there are many openings that could be filled by locals.
“It is not too early for anyone that has an interest to start doing some investigative research as to requirements for employment,” Wells said.
The mayor stated that a sustainable community must have a growth component, and the correctional centre will provide this to not only Osoyoos, but the entire South Okanagan.
Wells pointed out that the Osoyoos economic development group, now a part of Destination Osoyoos, has distributed a re-location guide showcasing the attributes of both South Okanagan and Osoyoos lifestyles.
Don Brogan, chairman of Destination Osoyoos, previously stated the correctional centre would bring more economic fuel to the region. He noted the increased population would provide more working aged adults and families to help populate the shallow labour pool.
“I don’t see a negative for anyone, even the inmates. Who wouldn’t want to spend more time in the beautiful South Okanagan?”
Local contractors, service providers and job seekers will have the opportunity to meet with Plenary Justice and promote their companies and services at an upcoming business-to-business networking session in Oliver on January 30 (by invitation only after registering online).
The meeting will provide Plenary Justice with valuable insight into the availability and capacity of local services, products and labour.
The networking session is being hosted by a team, which includes representatives from BC Corrections and Partnerships BC, in collaboration with the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce and the Southern Interior Construction Association.
For more details about the session and to register, business owners can sign up to the Correctional Centre Business Registry online at www.sochamber.ca.
The latest news is certainly exciting for Holly Plante, president of the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce.
“The expected economic benefits of this project will be felt throughout this region both immediately and over the long term for years to come,” she said.
She is also anticipating the networking session that will allow local businesses and service providers to promote their valuable resources through all levels of the project.
Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes said he’s looking forward to the real economic benefit once construction is underway.
“Corrections BC is keeping their timeline as set out and this project will be a great opportunity for the whole South Okanagan,” said Hovanes.
There will be major economic benefits to the town of Oliver during the entire construction stage and those benefits will continue for many decades once the facility is operational, said Hovanes.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton said the correctional centre will more than double corrections capacity in BC’s interior, further enhancing public safety for communities, correctional staff and inmates throughout the province.
Anton said the selection of Plenary Justice brings the province a significant step closer to creating 1,000 direct and indirect construction jobs for the region.
She noted the facility will also generate 240 new, full-time correctional positions when the centre officially opens its doors in 2016.
Bill Everitt, chief operating officer of Southern Interior Construction Association, said the project will bring much-needed work and employment opportunities to the region.
Like Plante, Everitt is highly anticipating the networking forum that will help member businesses be successful.
The Okanagan Correctional Centre is part of the B.C. government’s largest capital expansion plan in BC Corrections’ history.
Special to the Times