Kemptville prison opponents plan meeting

·2 min read

Opponents of a planned correctional facility in Kemptville are organizing a Zoom meeting on Tuesday.

"The recent public engagement session hosted by the Ministry of the Solicitor General provided one view of the issue; we think it is important for people to hear from other voices on this matter," said Victor Lachance, a member of the Coalition Against the Proposed Prison (CAPP) and the evening's moderator.

The province plans to locate a 235-bed correctional facility on agricultural land in the community.

The online meeting, dubbed an information session, will be held on Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

According to a press release issued by CAPP, participants at the event will hear from experts in the field of incarceration, prison reform, and construction, as well as an Indigenous political leader.

Eight speakers are on the schedule, including: Kim Beaudin, Vice-Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples; Bryonie Baxter, former executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa; Paul Cormier, chairman of RANA Development Inc.; Marie-Therese Voutsinos, who will talk about the importance of preserving agricultural land; Aaron Doyle, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University; Justin Piche, associate professor at the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa; and Kirk Albert, spokesperson for the local Jail Opposition Group.

"Our goal is to emphasize a positive vision for the future of Kempville and North Grenville," said Lachance.

CAPP is made up of a group of residents opposed to the planned construction of the Eastern Ontario Correctional Complex on 182 acres of farmland that was previously part of the Kemptville agricultural college.

"It’s an important piece of the agriculture and farming heritage of the area," said Colleen Lynas, spokesperson for CAPP.

According to the press release there will be a "robust" question-and-answer period following the presentations and anyone interested in participating is invited to register at coalitionagainstproposedprison@gmail.com.

Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times