Today, my fellow Halton mayors and I wrote to Premier Ford and Attorney General Downey in regards to the Province’s recent decision on the Halton Region Consolidated Courthouse project.
In our letter, we collectively told the Province that we understand the financial pressures that have emerged due to the COVID-19 pandemic and asked it to postpone the construction project rather than cancelling it outright.
To read the letter, that was also sent to our Halton MPPs, the Association of Ontario Municipalities (AMO), Regional Chair Gary Carr and Halton Regional councillors, please scroll down or click the link: Halton Mayors Letter May 13 2020.
May 13, 2020
Dear Premier Ford and Attorney General Downey,
We are writing to express our disappointment in the Province’s decision to cancel construction of the Halton Region Consolidated Courthouse. While we recognize and understand the tremendous financial burden the COVID-19 relief efforts have put on Provincial and municipal finances, this construction project would help stimulate the economic recovery of Halton Region. The administration of justice is not where to make cuts, as this is a foundational pillar of democracy.
The design and construction of the new courthouse would have resulted in close to 600 jobs for our community, while the estimated $200 to $499 million in capital costs would have provided a tremendous economic stimulus for our Regional economy. At a time when we are all looking for ways to stimulate economic recovery, the Province will be left with the cancellation costs of this project, and no economic return.
The community has been awaiting construction of this courthouse facility for many years. The new facility would have brought 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 new building design included innovative technology features that would allow for video conferencing and closed-circuit television to enable children and other vulnerable individuals to appear before the court from a private room, allowing the court to run more efficiently and help speed up the criminal justice system in Halton Region.
We support the request made to you by the Halton County Law Association and the Halton Regional Police Service to engage and discuss alternatives to the full cancellation of this important project.
We urge you to reconsider your decision and request instead only a postponement of this much needed facility.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, City of Burlington
Mayor Rob Burton, Town of Oakville
Mayor Rick Bonnette, Town of Halton Hills
Mayor Gord Krantz, Town of Milton