Two former Meander Valley mayors want those opposed to the Northern Regional Prison to look at the bigger picture, settle down and respect the process.
Neither Craig Perkins or Greg Hall are based in Westbury but both said they would have no problem if the prison was built near their homes.
Both agreed a prison should be built in a Northern regional area but said the findings of the government's socio-economic impact assessment would determine if Westbury was the right fit.
Mr Perkins was mayor from 2011 to 2018 and said the anger towards the council and councillors after Westbury was named as a preferred site was unfair and people needed to settle down a bit.
He said the government did not get off on the right foot the way it announced the preferred site in September but the public meeting seemed like a waste of time as people just yelled and screamed without meaningful engagement.
"Those that do have a strong opposition against the prison just need to settle the emotions down and behave appropriately as the process goes forward," he said.
"I know people are trying to find blame in the council and I think that's completely out of line...I think the council staff and the councillors have acted entirely appropriately.
"There's lots of emotional arguments that all prisoners' families are going to come and destroy Westbury and the like and it's just silly talk, it doesn't help the debate at all."
Mr Perkins said the site's EOI process had just begun when he was finishing as mayor but he had expressed a view to the government about a prison in the region.
MORE ON THE WESTBURY PRISON:
- Westbury prison not a done deal, Archer says
- Westbury prison process questioned
- Archer assures Westbury that prison decision still open
- Many Westbury residents 'hostile' to jail plan
- Northern Tasmanian prison site revealed
- Michael Polley says Westbury not right place for new prison
- Northern Tasmania Development Corporation defends prison
- Westbury should sense opportunity, mayor of council with three prisons says
- Meander councillor John Temple questions prison plans
- Drop-in information sessions confirmed for Westbury prison
- Elise Archer talks up proposed Northern Regional Prison
The reoccurring concerns raised by those opposed to the site at Westbury is the lack of community consultation before the announcement, the impact on tourism, property prices, safety and the closeness of the site to the town centre.
Mr Hall was mayor from 1996 to 2002 and said the social justice for prisoners must be taken into account
As an independent Legislative Council Member from 2001-2018, he said people in his electorate tried to visit relatives in Risdon Prison but found it difficult because of distance and the prison's strict visiting hours.
Mr Hall said it was needed as the north made up half the prison population and prisoners should be closer to family.
"The conversation's been very disrespectful and I think people need to settle down a bit and start to look at the bigger picture rather than nit picking," he said.
"It's disappointing and shameful to hear there is a core group of people who continually harass the mayor, councillors and some state MPs.
"Haven't the shouting class learnt from the recent elections that there might be other views out there in a silent majority."
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