With crews prepared to make major leaps forward with the construction of the new prison in Priestville, Justice Minister Ross Landry has appointed a community liaison committee so people in and around Pictou County have more information, and more opportunity to share ideas and ask questions.
Landry announced the members of the Facility Community Liaison Committee for Northeast Nova Scotia Correctional Facility during an information session Monday at an information session at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
"The committee members will play a key role in ensuring the community is well informed and understands the benefits that this facility brings to the community,” Landry said. “Likewise, they will bring any community concerns or questions forward to be addressed."
Committee members were selected based on their demonstrated commitment to community. They will meet every two months for the next two years to share ideas and get updates. They will also provide professional and personal perspectives to ensure the correctional facility has a smooth transition into the community.
"I am very pleased to be a part of this committee," said Cpl. Glenn Bonvie, Pictou County RCMP. "As committee members, we have an important job to do. I look forward to sharing ideas and bringing forward any questions people might have to ensure everyone is well informed."
The 200-bed correctional centre is on schedule to open in fall 2014. The facility is expected to inject millions into the economy and create new jobs, during construction and after opening. More than 100 full-time and causal positions will be created, the majority of which will be correctional officers.
"Building a new correctional facility in our community will bring many benefits and positive economic spinoffs," Landry said. "Nova Scotians want good, long-term jobs and a growing economy so they can stay here and raise families. This government is committed to making those opportunities happen and building this correctional facility is but one example."
Construction at the site has been slow over the winter because conditions had to be right to pour the concrete.
“January and February this year were an abnormally cold and stormy couple of months compared to previous years, so that really slowed the construction down but now we’re very optimistic with the change in the weather and the fact that it is going to progress quite well,” Landry said.
Site Supervisor Randy Dwyer of Bird Construction said they are waiting for the winter weather to stop and then they’ll be able to make some quick progress.
“I have almost 30,000 square feet of slab ready to pour, but with the snow I can’t pour it,” Dwyer said.
Once the snow’s gone, he’ll pour it and from there everything else will fall into place.
“Literally once the slabs are poured, it’s a matter of days and this whole building is standing,” he said. “The steel is ordered. It’s sitting waiting to go. The walls are all built ready to stand up.”
Right now they have eight guys working on site, but at the peak, there will be somewhere between 100 and 200 workers, Dwyer estimated.
One challenge with the construction will be the intricate systems that are needed for communication and security systems, but he’s looking forward to getting it all going.
“Everybody’s ready to ramp up and go wide open here.”
Facility Community Liaison Committee members
Chair: Tim Carroll – Superintendent of NNSCF
John MacLean – Community member
Scott Adamson – Community member
Shan MacLeod – Pictou Health Authority
Allan Best – Community member
D/C Eric MacNeil – New Glasgow Police Service
Jane Bolivar – Department of Justice
Father Gary MacPherson – Community member
Cpl. Glenn Bonvie – Pictou County RCMP
John McDavid – Community member
Sgt. Howie Dunbar – Stellarton Police Services
Gerald Muir – Community member
Art Fitt – Community member
Maureen Murphy – Community member
Tonya Francis – Community member
Pam Oulton – Department of Justice
Carol Gavel – Capital District Health Authority
Crystal States – Community member
Joe Hawes – Pictou mayor
Andy Thompson – Community member
Officer James Hayman – Adopt-a-Library
Monica Thomsen – Community member
Rev. Aidan Kingsbsury – Community member
Tammy Vella – Department of Justice
Stephen Kirincich – Community member
Bernie White – Community member