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Published on Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Province building new courthouse in Oakville

A happy Oakville Mayor Rob Burton said: “This is a $500 million smile.”

Province building new courthouse in Oakville
Four Cabinet Ministers
MPPs Kevin Flynn, Yassir Naqvi, Indira Naidoo-Harris, and Eleanor McMahon at site for new Halton Courthouse
By Marta Marychuk, Oakville Beaver

Halton’s desperately-needed courthouse is finally a reality.

The province announced Wednesday (June 21) that it is building a new courthouse in Oakville to replace the out-of-date facility in Milton.

Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi announced at a press conference in Oakville Wednesday morning that the new courthouse would be located on provincially-owned land, at the intersection of William Halton Parkway and Third Line, northwest of the new Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital.

“This has been a long time in coming,” said Naqvi.

The new 21-courtroom facility will offer a range of justice, family, social, and victim services, bringing the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice operations in Milton and Burlington together at one location.

Naqvi said the building will feature new technologies including video conferencing from remote locations and a secure room through closed-circuit television. All courtrooms will have state-of-the-art audio capabilities.

The original Milton courthouse was built in 1962, and a separate addition came in the late 1970s. Lawyers, police, social service providers, and politicians have been lobbying the province for years for a new facility.

Duty counsel would have to meet with clients in the hallways, while potential jurors would be congregating in nearby stairwells. Security was also an issue throughout the building.

“We have been lobbying the government for a long time,” said Halton Region Police Chief Stephen Tanner. Conditions at the Milton courthouse have been “far less than adequate” and there have been a number of health and safety issues with the facility.

“I know this courthouse will make a big impact,” added Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon. “Conditions there have been less than stellar.”

The next step in the process is an Environmental Assessment, said Naqvi. Construction of the new courthouse is expected to begin in late 2019.

Although construction on these types of projects typically takes five to seven years, Naqvi said a lot of the planning work has already been done.

There has been a lot of consultation with the Region of Halton and Town of Oakville, added Naqvi, and the functional designs for the new courthouse have already been completed.

“This investment in a new courthouse in Halton means the justice system will be able to meet the needs of our rapidly-growing population,” said Halton MPP Indira Naidoo-Harris.

Over the next two decades, Naidoo-Harris said the population of Halton Region is expected to grow by 60 per cent by 2041, adding continual pressure on the court system and resulting in unacceptable delays.

Naqvi did not want to speculate on the cost of the new courthouse — adding that it was “a significant” amount.

However, a happy Oakville Mayor Rob Burton said: “This is a $500 million smile,” quickly adding that the $500 million figure was an “unofficial number” and he was just conjecturing.

The Milton courthouse will continue to function until the new Oakville facility is completed. Once the courthouse is operational, Naqvi said the Milton property would then be turned back over to Infrastructure Ontario.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News

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