The Town of Fort Frances will take the next step to getting a proposed remand centre here after approving a draft proposal presented by consultants Sandy Baroudi and Gerry Pisarzowski of the Toronto-based Advisory Services//GPA.
“We have to move to forward on this so we can have a maintenance of the infrastructure we have now—the jail is a cornerpiece of the puzzle,” Mayor Glenn Witherspoon said after the presentation during last night’s council meeting.
“We hope to get this finalized as soon as possible,” he added.
Determining a $5.3-million new jail would not be economically feasible, the consultants suggested the town pursue expanding the current jail into a facility that could house up to 22 male inmates and four female ones, and employ 27 staff.
The remand centre would be used to detain prisoners yet to be sentenced as well as those facing sentences up to 120 days.
Another factor determined by the consultants was who would manage the new facility.
“The district has no experience running a jail. The Ministry of Correctional Services does, with 175 years of experience,” noted Baroudi.
He added “a facility to replace the Fort Frances Jail is an essential resource to meet the community’s needs.”
The consultants spent the last three months gathering data from those affected by the proposed facility. Baroudi thanked the OPP, jail staff, town administration, and law society for their co-operation in the study.
The consultants met with Mayor Witherspoon, Fort Frances CAO Bill Naturkach, Coun. Deane Cunningham, and Community Services manager George Bell over lunch earlier yesterday.
They also had a follow-up meeting at lunchtime today.
Mayor Witherspoon noted the draft proposal, which is not available to the press or the public at this time, will be sent soon to the ministry.
The town then will make an appointment with Correctional Services minister Rob Sampson to discuss building the remand centre here.
The current jail is slated for closure in 2004.