Consultants answering Westbury residents' questions about the Northern Prison were in such strong demand that the wait to speak with them reached 30 minutes on Thursday afternoon.
The Examiner spoke with residents as they left a government drop-in session at Fitzpatrick's Inn, all of whom claimed their questions were still unanswered.
Anne-Marie Loader, of Westbury, said there was an impression that the town had been "lied to" and it was causing splits within the community.
MORE ON THE WESTBURY PRISON PROPOSAL:
- Industrial land owner slams Westbury prison plans
- Westbury prison proposal questioned at Meander Valley Council meeting
- Many Westbury residents 'hostile' to jail plan
- Michael Polley says Westbury not the right place for a new prison
- NTDC defends prison plans
- Meander Valley councillor questions prison plans
- Drop-in information sessions confirmed for Westbury prison
- Elise Archer talks up proposed Northern Regional Prison
"There's already a huge negative impact going on in the town, people are arguing about it like they haven't argued before. And that's because they are afraid," she said.
"It's been in the pipeline for a long time, so why couldn't the government tell people what was going on?"
Residents were provided with a four-page document outlining common "concerns" and the government's responses, and could discuss the prison with staff from the Department of Justice and consultants from a corporate communications firm.
Sandy Tiffin, of Meander village, said the prison proposal demonstrated that the government was failing to properly address the growing rate of drug-related crime at its root cause.
"In Meander, we're facing a council decision to allow our school to be turned into a Teen Challenge rehab clinic. We find this appalling because it won't do anything about the ice problem," she said.
"Launceston has ... high unemployment, the crime rate is rising, that's clearly related to the ice problem. The government's plan is just to jail them all or hand them over to [a religious organisation]. These issues are connected."
Rosemary Collins, of Whitemore, said the proposal was causing stress for the area's elderly population.
"Westbury and surrounds has a high number of elderly residents and they grew up in this area too, they don't want to have to move out, but they want to feel safe in their community," she said.
Corrections Minister Elise Archer said the government chose the Westbury site due to the suitability of land near the industrial estate, proximity to major population centres in the North and connections to transport and other services.
The second drop-in session will be on October 18.