OLIVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – With the help of an excavator, representatives from the Province, Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB), local community and construction partners donned hard hats and officially broke ground today to celebrate the construction of the Okanagan Correctional Centre (OCC).
The OCC project will act as a catalyst for the local economy and create family-supporting jobs, generating approximately 1,000 indirect and direct jobs during construction. The project is scheduled for completion in fall 2016 and, once the centre is operational, more than 240 new, full-time correctional positions will open up in the Okanagan.
Workers have been on the 14.5-hectare (36-acre) OIB site since early spring to protect the local habitat and prepare the site for major construction activities, expected to commence this August. Extensive work already is underway and continues on finalizing the design of the state of-the-art centre.
With 11 living units and 378 cells, the OCC will more than double corrections capacity in the region, further delivering on the Province’s pledge to build safer communities and protect public safety. Numerous innovations in design and surveillance will offer enhanced safety and security for both staff and inmates.
Abundant natural light, improved indoor air quality and reduced energy consumption and water use are expected to lower the OCC’s operating costs over time.
Once operational, all correctional services, including front-line supervision of inmates, will continue to be funded by the Province and delivered by BC Corrections. Building on the success of existing programs at other correctional centres, the OCC will offer core programming based on individual risk and needs assessments.
Programs that are centred on reducing reoffending, such as violence prevention and relationship skills, substance abuse management and educational and vocational programs that help provide inmates with employable job skills for their release into the larger community will be delivered.
Plenary Justice, the project’s private partner, was selected through a competitive selection process to ensure a quality building design and delivery approach that achieves value for B.C. taxpayers. Under the terms of a fixed-price, performance-based agreement, Plenary Justice is responsible for delivering the OCC project on time and on budget, with capital construction costs capped at $192.9 million.
- Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice – “The Okanagan Correctional Centre reflects our government’s commitment to enhance public safety. This state-of-the-art correctional centre will create 1,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction and 240 full-time, family supporting correctional jobs once operational. These jobs will have positive spinoffs throughout the economy – such as local coffee shops, businesses and service providers, which will also reap the benefits.”
- Chief Clarence Louie, Osoyoos Indian Band – “After many years of negotiations and planning it is good to witness the groundbreaking of this very important project for our region. This project will bring many jobs during and after construction.”
- Linda Larson, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen – “The construction of the Okanagan Correctional Centre will be a strong economic driver for the Okanagan, bringing good-paying jobs for B.C. families and generating positive economic spinoffs. Today’s groundbreaking ceremony marks the start of a project that aligns with our government’s ongoing commitment to keep B.C. communities safe.”
- Richard Burley, vice president, Plenary Justice – “Turning the first sod today connects the many stages of planning and preparation that have gone into the design for this green, energy-efficient and cutting-edge correctional centre in the South Okanagan. Plenary Justice is looking forward to engaging the local community and creating jobs as the construction gets underway on this significant partnership project.”
- Plenary Justice was announced as the preferred proponent for this project on Jan. 10, 2014, following an extensive evaluation of three teams that were shortlisted and invited to submit proposals to design, build, partially finance and provide facilities management services for the OCC.
- The contract to build the OCC on OIB land is the first such partnership between the Province and a First Nation in B.C., laying out the details of the land lease and utilities service for a 60-year period, plus an option for an additional 20 years.
- The OCC is the centrepiece of the second phase of the B.C. government’s historic capital expansion plan for BC Corrections, following the now-complete $185-million first phase of the plan, which has added 340 cells to B.C.’s capacity.
- The OCC will be designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification – an international recognition of efficient, sustainable building strategies and practices.