Surrey courthouse construction, renovations aim to shorten wait times

The $33.5 million project, which got underway in Sept. 2016, is expected to be finished next year.

Surrey courthouse construction, renovations aim to shorten wait times

SURREY — Major renovations and new construction is underway at the Surrey provincial courthouse, the busiest in the province.

The $33.5 million project, which got underway in Sept. 2016, is expected to be finished next year.

Judge Robert Hamilton, provincial court regional administrative judge, discussed the project in an eNews interview on the Provincial Court of British Columbia’s website this week.

Surrey’s courthouse, built in 1991, has the largest criminal caseload and second largest civil and family caseload in B.C. It will be renovated and three storeys will be added to it with the intention of clearing up wait times and delays for justice.

“The renovation will separate the criminal court registry from the family and civil registry,” Hamilton told eNews. “They will be on different floors and all will be expanded to alleviate the cramped working conditions.”

He said there will be new courtrooms, settlement conference rooms and offices for judges, as well as video conferencing, more jail space and a new law library. There will also be news offices for family justice counsellors and a family justice access centre in the courthouse.

On the matter of criminal cases, Hamilton said, “one of the new courtrooms will be a state-of-the-art high security courtroom.” This will be in addition to courtroom 7, another high-security courtroom.

“This will assist us to deal with cases like those linked to armed gang violence while keeping court staff, people involved in court proceedings, and the public safe.”

For more eNews, check out http://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/enews/enews-07-03-2017

tom.zytaruk@thenownewspaper.com