Bowden prison farm to close

The Town of Innisfail is looking for a new home for its sewage sludge and yard waste as Bowden Institution continues to shut down its farm operation.

The Town of Innisfail is looking for a new home for its sewage sludge and yard waste as Bowden Institution continues to shut down its farm operation.

“We’re literally high and dry at the moment,” said Innisfail Mayor Ken Graham.

The town has been regularly trucking its yard waste to Bowden Institution’s compost facility. Twice a year, sludge from the town’s three sewage lagoons is hauled to the prison farm complex. The next trip was to be in the spring.

But the prison is expected to close the doors on the compost facility as part of a Corrections Canada plan to phase out its six prison farm operations across Canada by March 2011.

Innisfail is now searching for a new place to take its waste.

Graham is optimistic the town will find a solution. “We’ll work something out.”

A regional wastewater line that will connect Innisfail to Red Deer’s treatment plant could take some of the pressure off local wastewater treatment operations.

Corrections Service of Canada spokeswoman Christa McGregor said the prison will continue taking compost until the end of March, and the operation will be completely shut down next fall. The farm operations were run by CORCAN, a rehabilitation program run by Corrections Canada.

The government decided to close the prison farms after a 2008 strategic review of the program that cost $4 million annually.

The farms were meant to teach inmates useful job skills but the strategic review found relatively few offenders were able to apply their farm skills in the workplace, said McGregor.

“While offenders were learning farming skills, as well as accountability and work ethic, relatively few offenders were finding work in this area once released in the community.

“The farm operations are an employment program. As Correctional Service of Canada, we need to be providing offenders with marketable employment skills with the employment realities they face when they are released into the community.”

Most inmates head to urban centres on release, where they need jobs offering full-time employment, she said.

Besides the compost facility, Bowden farm inmates did equipment maintenance, ran a feedlot and some field crop production. “They would grow mostly hay and sometimes a little barley, too.”

About 40 inmates and five staff work on the farm.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘A miracle:’ 20 years after deadly tornado Alberta family thankful for survival

PINE LAKE, Alta. — Twenty years after a tornado swept through a… Continue reading

Controlling beach is ‘difficult,’ says Sylvan Lake

The Town of Sylvan Lake is looking to the province for direction… Continue reading

WestJet increasing service for August, but still remains far below a year ago

CALGARY — WestJet plans to restart non-stop flights from Calgary to London… Continue reading

Oilpatch optimism expected to rise as difficult second-quarter finally ends

CALGARY — Analysts say a rebound in oil prices as consumer demand… Continue reading

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

OTTAWA — A new poll suggests Canadians are torn on whether the… Continue reading

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

PM’s apology won’t make furor over WE go away

Justin Trudeau made a bold bid to break up with the ethics… Continue reading

David Marsden: The remaking of Westerner Park

Red Deer residents have been tested by the COVID-19 pandemic in innumerable… Continue reading

Whitecaps finally about to see action at MLS is Back Tournament in Florida

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — There have been no surprises for Whitecaps… Continue reading

NHL announces 30 positive COVID tests in Phase 2, 13 more outside league protocol

NEW YORK — The NHL says 30 players tested positive for COVID-19… Continue reading

Toronto launches drive-in entertainment plan including screenings, concerts

Toronto is launching a drive-in entertainment program as the city extends its… Continue reading

‘Big Brother Canada’ to return with host Arisa Cox as executive producer

TORONTO — “Big Brother Canada” will return for a ninth season with… Continue reading

In reversal, UK says it will make masks mandatory in shops

LONDON — The British government decided Monday to require people to wear… Continue reading

New Zealand opposition leader quits 2 months from election

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — The leader of New Zealand’s opposition National Party… Continue reading

Most Read