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Okanagan inmates building picnic tables for workers’ campsite

The prisoners will build 50 picnic tables in all for the Secrest Hill Agriculture Workers’ Campsite, formerly known as Loose Bay Campground.
The prisoners will build 50 picnic tables in all for the Secrest Hill Agriculture Workers’ Campsite, formerly known as Loose Bay Campground. RDOS

Prisoners at an Okanagan jail are building picnic tables that will be used at a nearby campsite.

This week, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) announced a partnership with the Okanagan Correctional Centre in Oliver.

The prisoners will build 50 picnic tables for the Secrest Hill Agriculture Workers’ Campsite, formerly known as Loose Bay Campground.

The campsite, located north of Oliver, provides accommodations for agriculture workers in the region.

“The new picnic tables are durable and functional,” said RDOS chair Mark Pendergraft. “Many agriculture workers arrive with very little, so having a table to organize their cooking supplies and enjoy a meal can make all the difference to their comfort level.”

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The RDOS said $457,000 in funding from the Ministry of Agriculture allowed it to upgrade the campground. Along with the picnic tables, the upgrades included washroom facilities, road resurfacing, fencing and various amenities.

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The RDOS says Secrest Hill campsite has 125 camping spaces and is one of the largest agriculture worker’s campsites in the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys.

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“Partnerships like this are good for all of us,” said Boundary-Similkameen MLA Roly Russell.

“Building these tables provides another avenue for individuals in custody to give back while developing new skills for their future, and helps improve quality of life for the many agricultural workers that spend time at Secrest Hill.

“We know how important these workers are to our region and to our farms: projects like this make a difference both within the correctional centre community and in the community at large.”

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