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Dubeau gets Runciman's attention during jail visit

Janis Leering: The Mirror
08/26/02 00:00:00

Penetanguishene Mayor Anita Dubeau had the opportunity to speak to Minister Bob Runciman about outstanding jail issues on Thursday morning, when he was visiting the area to launch a new program for inmates at the jail. "I was pleased to have five minutes with the minister, and bring to his attention the outstanding issues in Penetanguishene, with the hopes of working through them," said Dubeau.

The minister of public safety and security was in town to launch a parenting program at the jail. He spent a few minutes in private conversation with Dubeau and George Vadeboncoeur, chief administrative officer of the town.

"He saw my frustration, I was ready for the occasion, and we're hoping to follow up with a letter."

Runciman was the minister who announced in 1997 that Penetanguishene would be getting a new jail, but this is the first opportunity since then that Dubeau has talked to him face-to face.

"Our meeting (yesterday) had more impact than when he was here in 1997. When you can sit across the table from a senior statesman and have his undivided attention for a few moments, it's good."

Dubeau said she tackled three issues - the lawsuit against the town from residents living near the jail whose homes were flooded after a severe rainfall in 2000, the lack of tax payments from the jail, and the promise to obtain a loan to fix Thompson's Road.

"There's one issue I can't say any more about, and that's involving the lawsuit. The taxation issue has always been an issue, we were promised that and it's not come forward. I'm not sure it will ever come full-circle, but we will keep trying.

"The other issue is the promised loan for Thompson Road. It's the same-old, same-old, and we're hoping to resolve the issues."

Dubeau said there was encouragement from Runciman, but she still plans to follow up with a letter, and another meeting. "He's well aware that we want to meet with him. He had an encounter with Deputy Mayor Randy Robbins and Coun. Dan LaRose at the Association of Municipalities in Ontario (AMO) meeting last week, so he's well aware of the issues."

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