Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Penitentiary---the ultimate gated community.

     The Canada Lands Company is planning to transform the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Penitentiary in Laval Quebec, into condo units. The same fate awaited the Prison for Women in Kingston, Ontario. Canada Lands wanted to convert the cellblock into 32 condominium apartments:
 But Kingston, Ontario is a passionate defender of it's unique heritage---"The Prison Capital of Canada" will take any and all measures to protect the Isabel McNeil Halfway House, the Prison for Women, Kingston Penitentiary and Collins Bay Institution.
 See the City of Kingston Official Plan -Section 7 - Cultural Heritage Resources (2010).
  Portsmouth Village--- where KP, the Isabel McNeil House and the P4W are located--- is a "Heritage Conservation District". High-rise developments that would obstruct the city's waterfront are banned, and "parks, gardens, cemeteries, lakes, rivers, neighbourhoods, shorelines, vegetation and scenic vistas" will all be protected.
The City of Kingston Official Plan (2010) was approved by Ontario's Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, so the Federal Government, Canada Lands Company, Ontario Realty Corporation and developers cannot appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (for demolition rights and zoning changes) and win.
Thousands of Canadians, including Margaret Atwood, tried to save the federal prison farms in 2010, see the YouTube video "Margaret Atwood and farmers pinning demands to the CSC front door." I wrote the following letter to my Member of Parliament, in an attempt to save the farms:
      July 27, 2010

      Dear Mr. Poilievre:
      I hope there will be a moratorium on the sale of six prison farms located in Kingston, Ontario; Dorchester, New Brunswick; Stoney Mountain, near Winnipeg; Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and Innisfail, Alberta.
     I have enclosed a petition entitled "Save Our Farms" which includes the names of thousands of people who want to see prison farms continue to operate. Canada should not be selling valuable farm land to real estate developers who will destroy the land to build high density housing, including condominiums. Farm land is a very precious resource and no amount of money can compensate for the loss of land to grow food; to give animals space, to live and to breed, and to preserve our ecology.
     In this age of global warming, selling prison farms to developers will send a message that Canada's natural environment - our water, land and trees and the air that we breathe - are not as important as the needs of real estate developments.
     Thank you for any help you can provide. I would appreciate hearing from you on this regard.
     Yours sincerely,

Canada's Penitentiary Museum is located in the former Kingston Penitentiary warden's residence; the photograph was taken ca. 1900:

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