Move the pen to Stephenville

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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.

Organizations: College of the North Atlantic

Geographic location: Stephenville

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  • Tony Young
    February 20, 2014 - 23:14

    I totally agree that the facility should be relocated to Stephenville, the western coast of NL needs the economic boost badly. After seeing its mill close the town and region would surely benefit from such a massive employer with secure well paid jobs. The BSG region, St. George's in particular was one of the two sites eyed for the nickel plant which ended up going to Long Harbour, not because of the services it offered but only because it was at the back door step of St. John's. The Long Harbour site requires a landing strip to be built for the massive facility while St. Georges was passed up and the Stephenville airport to this day is under used and badly needed air traffic from any source. Politics and greed to have everything in or around St. John's has always been the political attitude of the province and it is totally unfair. It is time the province looks at a region like western NL for a change, to give it much needed employment and not bailing out the paper mill in Corner Brook every time it needs a hand to stay open. I hope the people of the region stand up and ask their local MHA and MP, Ms. Foote, to step in and make a case for Stephenville to finally get the break it deserves. The hospital, airport, and land space as well as operating a provincial prison makes Stephenville a prime location for such a facility along with the 800 to 1000 jobs that would spin off of it.