Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Windsor council OKs super jail site plan

WINDSOR, Ont. -- The city has approved site plans for the province's new super jail in South Windsor, where work is hoped to begin this summer.
"It's scheduled for completion of construction at the end of July 2013," said Bruce Gray of Infrastructure Ontario at city hall on Monday night.
Gray said there are further steps that need to be taken, including formal application for a building permit, but things are on track for ground breaking in the coming months.
"It's been a very well-organized and collaborative approach to this development," Gray said. "I think it's gone well.
"There's been public consultation. There's been positive feedback, as well.
"I think it's good news for the community."
Monday's approval is the latest progress in the ongoing creation of the South West Detention Centre, to be located at 4819 8th Concession Rd., just east of where Walker Road meets Highway 401.City council voted unanimously in favour of the floor drawings and site maps submitted by Infrastructure Ontario.
The only conditions that council added were that the province build a bus shelter near the site and consider installing a playground in the green space to the east of the jail.
The building's gross floor space will be almost 205,000 square feet, capable of accommodating up to 315 male and female inmates.
The structure itself represents a $247-million provincial investment, with maintenance costs over the next 30 years expected to raise the project's total price tag to $336 million.
A consortium of firms under the name Forum Social Infrastructure landed the contract for the work. Bondfield Construction Company Limited is responsible for the actual construction. Gray assured that there's a local jobs component in the building process. "Our constructor has a high commitment to local labour."
Coun. Hilary Payne, in whose ward the super jail will be situated, said he's reviewed the plans and he's satisfied.
"They seem to be going to considerable lengths to screen the jail itself from the surrounding area, either by berms or landscaping or shrubbery, Payne noted.Much controversy and debate preceded the 2009 decision to build the facility at its South Windsor site.
Payne said he knows his constituents are still overwhelmingly against the jail's location, but that part of the issue has passed.
"It turned out not too badly," Payne said. "I don't think it's the right place, but that's ancient history now. And it's really good to see that the province is doing these extra things - which, really, they don't have to do."
Consultations with the public resulted in plans for a soccer field and a cricket pitch in the green space to the east of the jail. The site plans and the report to council were posted on the city's website a week prior to Monday's meeting.
Gray said there aren't any security issues about the public having access to the information because the floor drawings don't include specifics about the practices and measures that will be put into place.
"There's electronic and physical security - and operational intent - that wouldn't be obvious in this layout."

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