WRAP - No prison in Westbury
WRAP media release - 12 August 2021

Public meeting a resounding success for the community

The public meeting held on the Northern Regional Prison in Deloraine last night was a resounding success for the community.

Despite the poor timeslot, the terrible weather and the unheated venue, the meeting was attended by approximately 300 people (Adam Holmes, The Examiner).

Of 86 written submissions lodged with the Council leading up to the meeting and presented in summary at meeting, 84 were against the prison and only 2 were in favour. Similarly, an overwhelming number of people at the meeting were opposed to the prison. A motion calling on the Council to do its own impact assessment on the prison and undertake further consultation with its community was passed by a majority of 122 to 22.

"This meeting sent a clear message to the Government and the Council that the overwhelming number of people in the community are still against the Northern Regional Prison, even though it has shifted to the new site. It completely dispels the myth the Government has been selling since June last year that the people of Westbury have been satisfied by the prison being moved just slightly further out from the town.

Minister Archer has this morning said that she will forge on with the prison at the nature reserve regardless of community sentiment. The fact that the new site does not have the support of the community may be immaterial to Minister Archer but it's not immaterial to us. Nor should it be to our Council.

We have represented the majority view in our community from the beginning and we will continue to represent them right to the bitter end. This fight is only just beginning," said Linda Poulton.

Last night, the Mayor conceded that consultation is something that the Council should have done in the beginning. But it's not too late for the Council to undo the damage that was done.

"We now look forward to our Council acting on the motion passed by the overwhelming majority at last night's meeting which asked them to withdraw previous support given for the prison and undertake their own assessment of the socio-economic impact of this type of project on our municipality. They then come back to their community with that information for proper consultation."

Linda Poulton
Vice-President and Spokesperson, WRAP Inc

 

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