VIDEO: With new courthouse, Abbotsford legal community finally gets to ‘kick that football’

New $150 million courthouse two decades in the making

After decades of cajoling, commissions, studies and promises, construction is finally set to begin on a modern courthouse for Abbotsford.

An official groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday, where provincial court judge Kenneth Skilnick reflected on the local legal community’s enduring calls for a new facility.

“Each time that the promise of a new courthouse was made and failed to realize, it reminded me of that famous Peanuts cartoon, where Charlie Brown is about to kick the football and Lucy is holding the football and pulls it away at the last moment,” said Skilnick, who recalled serving on a commission in 1993. “This is especially meaningful to me and all the rest of us who have been waiting to kick that football.”

The courthouse currently in use was found in 2012 to be infested by vermin and plagued by “very serious functional, overcrowding, security and safety issues.”

Skilnick said he wished legendary local lawyer G. Jack Harris and former mayor George Ferguson, both of whom have died in the last five years, would have been present to see ground finally broken on the new $150 million facility, located on Trethewey Street just east of the Clearbrook Library.

The building will include 14 courtrooms, including several Supreme Court rooms. Local Supreme Court cases currently must be heard either in Chilliwack or in New Westminster or Vancouver. Several rooms can also be used for restorative justice and indigenous justice cases.

“A courthouse has an important place, both in the administration of justice generally and in the community,” associate chief justice Heather Holmes of the B.C. Supreme Court said. “This one will stand as a symbol of the democratic values on which our society is based, but it will also provide a real bricks and mortar place in the community where members of the public can see those values being applied.”

Attorney General David Eby noted that the new facility will be the first such courthouse built in B.C. in a decade. It is expected to open in 2021. The city is leasing the land to the province.

Eby said it will be up to the Supreme Court to decide where cases from Langley and other nearby jurisdictions without their own Supreme Court are heard.

The courthouse will sit on a former parking lot. Parking for the library has been relocated to a nearby lot next to The Reach that used to be primarily used by staff. City staff are now using a new lot off of Justice Way.

 

Just Posted

Council agrees to pay for fence around Mission Legion

Building has been hit by vandalism and grafitti

New Abbotsford transit depot one step closer, despite objections from neighbours

Residents worried about noise, light and effects of pile-driving on their foundations

VIDEO & PHOTOS: Iron Mountain Music Festival delights Mission music fans

Inaugural event featured two days on non-stop musical entertainment

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

PHOTOS: Mission firefighters help mentor kids

Big Brothers Big Sisters Local Heroes daycamp took place and kids on the waitlist had great fun

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Glow Langley returns bigger and brighter this Christmas

Organizers will also introduce Harvest Glow — a celebration of autumn

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

Most Read