Earlier today, Halton Regional Council unanimously endorsed a resolution asking the Provincial Government to postpone, rather than cancel, the Halton Consolidated Courthouse project. The new courthouse was expected to replace aging courthouses in Milton and Burlington which have experienced ongoing resourcing and security issues. It also would have brought much needed economic stimulus to Halton along with approximately 600 jobs. Council feels strongly that the shovel-ready project is critical to post-COVID-19 recovery of the local economy and it is ideal as a federal-provincial infrastructure stimulus project.
“Halton Region along with Halton Regional Police Service and other key stakeholders in the justice system have strongly supported the position that the Milton and Burlington courthouses are unable to serve the needs of residents in our community and that without question, both need to be replaced,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “We fully recognize the financial challenges facing the Provincial Government as a result of the pandemic but are asking them to postpone this project, not cancel it, based on the critical services it would provide to our community and the impact on our Regional economy.”
This has been a long standing advocacy issue for Halton, in 2015 Council passed a resolution urging the Provincial Government to proceed with a new courthouse in Halton. The new facility would bring the Superior Court of Justice and Ontario Court of Justice operations in Milton and Burlington together in one state of the art, accessible and efficient facility in Oakville.
The conditions of the courthouse facilities have long been a source of concern for many in Halton. Both the Milton and Burlington courthouses do not have enough functional courtrooms and lack resources. Halton Police Chief Steven Tanner has stated that the Milton courthouse is “dangerous and is considered beyond repair and beyond renovation.” The Honourable Geoffrey B. Morawetz Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice has acknowledged that the cancellation of the Halton Consolidated Courthouse Project is an access to justice issue and underscores the overall lack of functional courtrooms in the Central West Region.
With today’s Council resolution, Halton Regional Council is adding their voices to call on the Provincial Government to reconsider their decision. The Province has already invested a significant amount of money in the project which was already in the procurement stage.
It is the hope of Regional Council that with enough community pressure, construction of the Halton Consolidated Courthouse could go ahead at some point in the future. To view the full Council resolution, visit halton.ca to access the agenda package for the May 20 Council meeting.
The Regional Municipality of Halton serves more than 580,000 residents in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville. Halton Region is committed to meeting the needs of its residents through the delivery of cost-effective, quality programs and services, including water and wastewater; Regional roads and planning; paramedic services; waste management; public health; social assistance; children’s and seniors’ services; housing services; heritage programs; emergency management and economic development. For more information, call 311 or visit Halton Region’s website at halton.ca.