One thing is consistent with municipal politicians who represent St. John’s: no matter how much they have, they don’t like to share with anyone.
The latest example comes after the news that planning has begun for a new federal prison — a project that has been talked about for decades. The present structure is more than 150 years old, and despite improvements, is still not up to modern standards.
It sits in the middle of St. John’s, overlooking the famous Quidi Vidi lake and has become an eyesore. Plainly put, it’s an embarrassment to the province.
At this week’s council meeting, St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe told councillors that a new prison is on the agenda again and they have to start a campaign to keep it and the jobs in the capital. Maybe that’s his job as mayor, but there is a wider view of the situation to consider what a major impact having a prison would make on some other communities in the province.
Aside for the usual nonsense that services aren’t available anywhere else in the province for prisoners, there is no reason the prison couldn’t be built in a collection of communities away from St. John’s, all of which need the economic boost more than the capital.
... There is no reason the prison couldn’t be built in a collection of communities away from St. John’s, all of which need the economic boost more than the capital.
One community that would likely be willing and able to accommodate a prison is Stephenville.
That town has plenty of land for the structure itself. It is also the headquarters for the College of the North Atlantic, an institution that would be invaluable for prisoners who want to turn their lives around and study for a career.
Stephenville also has one of the most modern hospitals in the province and the people of Stephenville have proven themselves to be open-minded and tolerant.
They also have years of experience having a prison — albeit a smaller one — within the town’s boundaries.
Politicians, other than those who can’t see beyond the status quo, should begin a campaign to have any new penitentiary relocated to Stephenville if the council and residents are open to the idea.
It makes sense in more ways than one.