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Impacts of proposed prison to be discussed

Impacts of proposed prison to be discussed

Consultation about the proposed Otago Region Corrections Facility will continue with the local community, and focus on working with people to address possible effects of the new prison and ways to minimise or avoid those effects.

Corrections Minister Mark Gosche today announced that the Government plans to seek planning approvals for the Otago Region Corrections Facility. The decision endorses the 187-hectare site at Milburn, near Milton, as the most suitable location for the proposed facility.

National Property Manager William Whewell says that the Department will be working closely with local people on ways to address specific concerns they may have about a corrections facility nearby.

“The kinds of issues people have raised with us include the impact of the new prison on the landscape, personal security and safety, resources, traffic and noise, and effects on property values,” Mr Whewell says.

“Interested groups or individuals have the opportunity to voice their support for, or opposition to, the prison through the designation process. This is a formal process governed by the Resource Management Act and the responsibility of the Clutha District Council.”

A designation is a provision in a district council’s district plan allowing certain activities to be carried out on a specified area of land. Designating the site for ‘prison purposes’ provides the Department longer-term certainty over the land’s use.

“Over the coming months the Department will prepare documents for the Corrections Minister to lodge a Notice of Requirement with the Clutha District Council. This notice will seek to designate the site for prison purposes. Lodgement is likely to be in April or May 2003,” Mr Whewell explains.

“Anyone can make a formal submission on the Notice of Requirement to the Council and have their say about the facility, once the Council has publicly called for submissions. The designation process includes a Council-run hearing and submitters will have the opportunity to speak at this hearing and present evidence that supports their view.”

The Clutha District Council will then recommend to the Corrections Minister that the designation be confirmed (with or without conditions) or withdrawn. The Corrections Minister will then decide whether to accept or reject the Council’s recommendation.

For background information about the designation process please visit your local Clutha District Council office or call the Department of Corrections on freephone 0508 263 880.

The proposed new prison is expected to open in 2006, dependent on planning approvals.

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