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Municipal leaders push for meeting with the Premier


Municipalities from across the Parkland are focusing their opposition to the closure of Dauphin Correctional Centre (DCC) on securing a meeting with Premier Brian Pallister.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Ste. Rose Mayor Robert Brunel said, while they have not heard back from the premier’s office, such a meeting would be the ideal situation.
“I’m hoping we secure a meeting, you know, whether we get a meeting with the premier or at least the Justice minister. But we figured that we would shoot for the premier’s office and see where that went,” Brunel said.
Brunel added the group would like to discuss not only the closure of the jail, but also the renovations planned for the Dauphin Courthouse and the details of the economic development announcement made the same day as the closure was announced.
“The goal is to open dialogue as a group on three points,” he said.
“We want to make sure that the lines of communication are open and that we work, and work positively, with all levels of government to move things forward.”
The formation of future plans, Brunel said, are directly tied to the expected meeting.
“There’s a lot of unanswered questions, as you know, surrounding the closure and surrounding the upgrades to the courthouse. And then they’ve made the announcement about the economic development and something is supposed to come of that in the next month. So we would like to work as a group for the betterment of the Parkland,” he said.
And the issues affect the entire region, he said, using Ste. Rose, which is home to nine Corrections officers employed at DCC, as an example.
“So you know that’s a pretty big deal for a municipality of 1,700,” he said.
“So you know, we don’t know what’s going to shake out, but we have a lot of questions, you know, surrounding where these people might go or what jobs might be available.”
Among those questions is the possibility of a new facility in the area, Brunel said.
“Is there still a plan for a new facility at some point? You know they’ve never said no,” he said.
“So what does that look like? Is there a way we could be a part of that or bring people together to kind of spearhead.”
On the economic development side of the equation, Brunel said the group has been meeting since last fall to discuss opportunities for the region, And where any opportunities might come to fruition does not really matter, he added.
“We all kind of intermingle economically and the economy of the Parkland is our priority. So that’s the idea behind this group, to look at where we can collaborate and work together on these issues rather than working in silos. And we have lots to offer in the area, but there’s a lot of work to be done on adding to the economy of our area. So we want to work together,” Brunel said.
“(The jail closure) is a spin-off and kind of added to the urgency of coming together. So this is our first big issue.”
The group expects to meet again once a meeting with the premier is secured.