Fredericton — After public outcry about a new jail to be built near the Vanier Industrial Park, the province has said construction would not go forward in the original planned location.
However, with many politicians and residents still in favour of a jail for its job-creation potential, the jail will soon be placed in the former MacLean’s Sports building on Union Street on the north side of Fredericton.
“MacLean’s moved recently, and left this nice little building empty — it’s going to save the taxpayer a lot of money, as the structure already exists,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “It’s small, but I’m confident we can cram a huge number of petty thieves, panhandlers and homeless people into the spot, with some creative construction of bunk beds. Anyone who doesn’t fit can be housed in tents outside, guarded by locals we hire for a fair wage.”
The proximity to offenders will cut transportation costs as well, said Fredericton Mayor Kate Rogers.
“It’s where all the criminals are anyway, so it makes sense,” she said during an interview in her office. “It also satisfies any well-to-do NIMBY types, because their backyards are nowhere near this particular area. I mean, who even lives in Devon? Yuck!”
The Union Street part of Devon is fairly run-down, so most residents are not particularly upset about a jail being added to the landscape.
“I swear every time I go for a walk some junkie asks me for money, there are beer cans and Tims cups littered all over the place, and cigarette smoke just wafts in my face so I can’t even get fresh air,” said Jennifer Paul, who lives on Union in an apartment building. “Honestly, throwing a jail in the mix can’t make things much worse.”
Police have already arrested a handful of drug dealers in the area who will be the first to try out the facility.
“I like that it’s near my trap house,” said Dusty Campbell, 42, a longtime northsider with an even longer rap sheet. “I can keep selling to my customers while I’m doing time.” Campbell described the new spot as cozy and comfortable. “And a view of the river — can’t beat it!”