Momentum is gathering in the push to have both a provincial jail and young offenders’ facility in the district.
After meeting with a private consulting firm, the Jeffery Group, from Toronto last Thursday, Emo Reeve Russ Fortier, Fort Frances Mayor Glenn Witherspoon, Rainy River First Nation Chief Jim Leonard, and several others are closer to launching a campaign to land the two facilities here.
“We’ll be canvassing the various municipalities and organizations for a show of support as soon as we get the final definition of what we want,” said Mayor Wither-spoon.
The Jeffery Group has been representing the local leaders in Toronto, seeking the requisites for the jail and young offenders’ facility to enable local bids to be written.
“[They] are going to meet on our behalf with the minister for some clarification on a remand centre. A lot of people have a different interpretation of what that is,” noted Emo Reeve Russ Fortier.
“We want to know what they want before we put together a proposal.”
“We’re moving along in regards to getting the exact needs from the ministry and between our two projects—our young offenders’ facility and maintaining a Fort Frances jail,” said Mayor Witherspoon.
“Last Thursday we got some information back from the group. We’re moving along very quickly,” he added.
During last week’s meeting, it also was agreed that First Nations would take charge of selecting the ideal location for the young offenders’ facility to be included in the upcoming proposals.
The move to lobby for a new jail and/or young offenders’ facility here stems from an announcement last fall that the Fort Frances Jail was slated for closure in 2004.