Plans to replace ‘vermin-infested’ Abbotsford courthouse may be revealed in 2017

Report in 2015 said new Abbotsford facility would be needed by 2018 to 'maintain safe and effective operations'

The public may hear later this year about progress on a $63 million plan to replace Abbotsford’s courthouse, which was found five years ago to be vermin-infested and plagued by “very serious functional, overcrowding, security and safety issues.”

In February of 2014, the province gave a consortium of five Fraser Valley municipalities, including Abbotsford, $600,000 to develop a 20-year expansion plan for courthouse expansion in the region.

That plan listed a new courthouse in Abbotsford as “high priority,” and suggested a $63.7 million replacement with nine provincial and five supreme courtrooms that could be located on the site of the present building on South Fraser Way.

Read that plan here.

“Abbotsford Provincial Courthouse has serious deficiencies and it will be difficult to maintain safe and effective operations at this location beyond 2018,” said the report, which was completed by Cornerstone Planning Group of Vancouver. A previous report, in 2011, had found a variety of problems at the current building, including asbestos, and “vermin infestation.”

The 2014 report, which said the Fraser Valley needed 32 provincial courtrooms but only had 22.

“The status quo is not sustainable,” its authors wrote.

The first project envisioned by the report’s authors was an expansion of the Surrey Provincial Courthouse, adding five courtrooms. In June, construction started on just such a facility, with a $33.5 million expansion adding three courtrooms and two hearing rooms.

But there has been little said publicly about Abbotsford getting a new courthouse.

In response to questions from The News, the Ministry of Justice issued a statement saying it was working on implementing the 2014 plan.

“Work for the Abbotsford planning phase is underway, and we hope to have more information on progress later in 2017,” the statement said. “While much remains to be done, we are taking steps to ensure that citizens in the Lower Fraser Valley have timely access to justice for the next generation.”

The 2014 report also suggested centralizing the majority of Supreme court cases at a new Abbotsford courthouse to maximize efficiencies. That created worries in Chilliwack that the building there would lose its Supreme Court rooms to Abbotsford. In 2015, Kevin Jardine, the assistant deputy minister of justice, said that had originally been the plan, but that when the government accepted the plan, it did so with the exception that Chilliwack would retain its Supreme Court presence.

Just Posted

UFV launches school of creative arts

New school combines theatre and visual arts

Pints n’ Pitches coming to Abbotsford

Free Oct. 16 event brings together people to foster potential business ventures

BC Children’s virtual care sites open at Abbotsford and Chilliwack hospitals

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

McKenzie Road shut down by police for hours last night due to mental health incident

People reportedly heard police negotiating with individual to come outside house

Historian Keith Carlson appointed Canada Research Chair at UFV

Carlson is an ethno-historian with a strong connection to the Sto:lo people in Chilliwack

VIDEO: Langley woman’s security camera records its own theft

Langley family discovers early morning grab was recorded

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Vancouver Giants wrap up prairie road swing with a 4-2 win over Regina

Milos Roman paced the Langley-based Giants with two goals, goaltender David Tendeck made 34 saves

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

Man arrested in fatal stabbing at Surrey gas station

Victim pronounced deceased at the scene; RCMP cordon off area

Most Read