New $63 million courthouse proposed for Abbotsford

The recommendation is part of a court expansion plan for the Lower Fraser Valley.

A new $63 million courthouse has been proposed for Abbotsford has part of a court expansion plan for the Lower Fraser Valley.

Recommendations released this week as part of a 20-year court expansion plan in the Fraser Valley include that a new 14-courtroom courthouse be constructed in Abbotsford by 2018.

The courthouse should include five B.C. Supreme Court courtrooms and nine provincial ones, according to the recommendation.

The report states that the current site at 32203 South Fraser Way can accommodate a larger facility if required. The site is on a large parcel of land that also includes city hall, the Abbotsford Police Department, a fire hall, Clearbrook Library and The Reach Gallery Museum.

The estimated cost of demolishing the current facility and constructing a new one is $63.7 million ($62.5 million for the new building, $900,000 for parking/landscaping, and $300,000 to demolish the current facility).

The suggestion is part of the final report of the Lower Fraser Valley Regional Plan: Court Capacity Expansion Project, developed by five municipalities – Abbotsford, Surrey, Chilliwack, the City of Langley and the Township of Langley.

Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman applauded the recommendations in the report.

“The long-term expansion plan will address the increasing need for access to court services in our region and will ultimately benefit all Lower Fraser Valley communities,” he said.

In April 2013, the B.C. government signed a memorandum of understanding with the five municipalities.

On behalf of the consortium, Abbotsford was granted $600,000 to fund the development of the 20-year expansion plan.

The courthouse plan for Abbotsford is one of two projects that have been listed as “high priority” to be completed by 2018.

The other is to expand Surrey provincial court by five courtrooms and update the facility’s technological infrastructure at an estimated cost of $26.2 million.

Long-term projects also recommended to be considered for funding approval and to be completed in phases until 2033 are:

– a new five-courtroom provincial courthouse in Langley ($21.2 million);

– further expansion of Surrey’s courthouse by three provincial courtrooms ($8.7 million); and

– expansion of Chilliwack’s courthouse by two provincial courtrooms ($8.2 million).

Abbotsford currently has only a provincial courthouse, but the plan states that it has “serious deficiencies and it will be difficult to maintain safe and effective operations” there beyond 2018.

The report states that problems with the current courthouse include overcrowding, insufficient meeting space, poor acoustics in some courtrooms, not enough judge’s chambers, and technical deficiencies such as asbestos and vermin infestation.

Provincial court deals with most criminal cases, as well as family, small claims, civil and traffic cases.

The plan states that the Lower Fraser Valley (LFV) requires 32 such courtrooms, but currently has only 22, including five in Abbotsford.

Supreme court hears serious adult criminal, civil and family cases, and these matters are currently held only in Chilliwack, New Westminster and Vancouver.

Demand for these cases is largest in Surrey, followed by Abbotsford, Langley and Chilliwack, according to the report.

The plan will now be presented to the government for future capital funding approval.

Just Posted

Langley rollover crash slows traffic on 200 Street in Willoughby

Crews called to Monday afternoon collision involving two cars

VIDEO: Langley BMX racers propel pumpkins down their track

Once the standard race day was over, riders let a series of gourds roll down their Brookswood track.

Fort Langley wakes up to a flower bombing

A team from a village floral shop wanted to do a beautification project.

Abbotsford mom stuck in Africa over adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran have been waiting four weeks to bring son home

Township mayor Jack Froese talks short- and long-term goals for third term

Tree bylaw, pot sales among topics that will need attention in coming months

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

Ovechkin has 4 points as Caps rough up Canucks 5-2

WATCH: Defending champs pick up impressive win in Vancouver

Vancouver mayoral hopefuly admits defeat, congratulates winner Kennedy Stewart

Ken Sim of the Non-Partisan Association apologized for the time it took to acknowledge Stewart won

Mental fitness questioned of man charged in Chilliwack River Valley shooting

Peter Kampos told his lawyer ‘his dreams are being stolen and turned into drugs’ at Surrey Pre-trial

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Election watchdog seeks digitally savvy specialists to zero in on threats

Move follows troublesome evidence of online Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election

More court before Dutch man charged in Amanda Todd case is extradited here

Appeals must be dealt with in Europe, before charges faced in B.C.

Most Read