Biting into jail issue

Staff ~ The Record
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By Christopher Gooding
The Record
SPRINGHILL - Shoulder to shoulder, representatives of the five municipal units met at the office of Cumberland South MLA Murray Scott for a working lunch to chart their next step in the ongoing dispute with the province over its decision to scrap the building of a jail here in Springhill or anywhere else in Cumberland County.
Topping of the list of items up for discussion was why they feel citizens should care and become part of the charge to get the government to reverse its decision.
"This is a decision that will affect our schools, hospitals, many services," Scott said. "Take three children from any school - it doesn't matter from where in Cumberland - how does that affect the area?"
The MLA, the mayors and warden are calling on the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association [CREDA] to conduct an impact study on the NDP decision to relocate the jail to a location central to Pictou -Colchester region. High on their radar are the long-term affects municipalities will face.
"A lot of tax payers could be transferred with their families and I think a lot of municipalities will be asked to help with that deficit," Jenkins said. "That could mean putting taxes up."
After announcing the province would only build one super jail and that the present staff at the Amherst and Antigonish correctional centres would have the option to transfer to the new jail location, Scott, the mayor's and warden say it will trigger a domino affect that will see other services in Cumberland County having to justify their numbers and a reduction in the existing services. Especially in the justice field.
"A community needs professional people and this decision prevents professionals people from coming to and staying in the area," Springhill mayor Allen Dill said.
"When we have people retire from cities and come back to their hometowns they want professional people; lawyers and medical services in their community," Parrsboro mayor Lois Smith said. "The government has to think about these families, too."
"Everyone loses if [the jail] goes," Amherst councilor Terry Rhindress, sitting in on behalf of Amherst's mayor Robert Small, said.
"After all that, lawyers won't be needed," Warden Keith Hunter said.
Earlier in the month the mayors and warden stood on the steps of the existing jailhouse in Amherst, challenging the government to release the paper work behind its decision to build one jail and last Friday's meeting was follow up to the fact this is an issue, they say, they won't drop.
"I don't think the provincial authorities understand how firm we are and how united we are on this," Dill said.
"Christmas vacation might be coming but we're not going to let the government forget," mayor Smith said.
All agreed their message remains firm: it doesn't matter where the jail goes as long as it is in Cumberland County and encourage citizens who agree to sign a petition now in circulation or write to Premier Darrell Dexter stating their concerns. -

Organizations: Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association, NDP

Geographic location: Cumberland County, SPRINGHILL, Amherst Colchester Antigonish Parrsboro

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  • scott
    March 09, 2010 - 09:26

    i know one thing . this is no longer news ,if the opposition put as much effort into there struggle they might still be in office . get over it already.