A virtual Zoom event was held Thursday (Feb. 4) to celebrate the opening of the new Abbotsford Law Courts.

A virtual Zoom event was held Thursday (Feb. 4) to celebrate the opening of the new Abbotsford Law Courts.

Abbotsford Law Courts celebrate official opening with virtual event

Local and provincial representatives say new courthouse will ease demands on justice system

Abbotsford’s new $152 million courthouse will help ease the demands of the growing Fraser Valley population now and into the future, speakers said Thursday (Feb. 4) during the facility’s virtual official opening.

The ceremony was held via a live-streamed Zoom event with local and provincial representatives.

B.C. Attorney-General David Eby said the Abbotsford Law Courts (ALC), which opened to the public in mid-January, is the first brand-new courthouse in the province since 2002.

He said there has been significant population growth in the region, resulting in increased demands on the justice system in those years.

“The Fraser Valley has really needed expansion of justice services for a long time,” he said.

Eby said the new ALC on Veterans Way doubles the capacity of the former provincial courthouse on South Fraser Way and allows for future expansion.

RELATED: New $152M courthouse in Abbotsford slated to open Jan. 18

He said it includes an expanded law library and is home to the BC Prosecution Service, community corrections and a justice access centre “to help people navigate their family and civil law issues.”

It also includes eight provincial and three Supreme courtrooms.

Chief Judge Melissa Gillespie of the provincial court of B.C. said the former courthouse was built in 1967 with just one courtroom. At the time of its closure, there were five provincial courtrooms and two conference rooms.

Gillespie said Abbotsford and Mission has been one of the fastest growing areas in the province, and there has been talk for many years of the need for a new courthouse.

Gillespie said the new ALC incorporates “innovative design and technology” that can be used in the design of other courthouses in the future.

“The provincial court welcomes the opportunity these new modern facilities will give us to meet the needs of these growing communities by improving access to justice and upholding the rule of law,” she said.

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson of the Supreme Court of B.C. said he heard the first Supreme Court trial in the ALC last month.

“The facility was everything I’ve been told I could expect,” he said.

Hinkson said the new courthouse adds “much-needed court capacity” to residents of the Fraser Valley and will enable them to access justice services closer to home.

RELATED: With new courthouse, Abbotsford legal community finally gets to ‘kick that football’

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said the ALC not only improves better access to the justice system, but also provides services and jobs to residents across the region.

Lisa Beare, minister of citizens’ services, which leases the ALC land from the City of Abbotsford, said more than 1,000 jobs were created during the construction phase.

She said the ALC incorporates state-of-the-art technology, environmentally friendly building standards, and accessible hallways, courtrooms, washrooms and entranceways.

Other speakers participating in the virtual opening were Chief Alice McKay of Matsqui First Nation, Lissa Smith of Metis Nation BC, and Chief Justice Robert Bauman.

The B.C. government contributed $152.2 million in capital funding to the project, while the City of Abbotsford contributed $5.7 million in a land-leasing arrangement with the province.



vhopes@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BC Supreme CourtCourt

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The new Abbotsford Law Courts opened to the public on Jan. 18, followed by the official opening on Feb. 4. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

The new Abbotsford Law Courts opened to the public on Jan. 18, followed by the official opening on Feb. 4. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

Just Posted

Signs geared to protecting salmon habitat were damaged at the Fraser River near Chilliwack. (Facebook)
New signs for protecting Fraser River habitat near Chilliwack vandalized

Fishery officers want off-road users to enjoy river resource in the ‘least damaging way possible’

Kelli Paddon in her virtual speech to the House of Commons on Tuesday, March 2. (B.C. Legislature)
Chilliwack-Kent MLA thanks Agassiz’s Miel Bernstein in legislature speech

Bernstein is the founder of Project AIM, which gives people in need access to period products

(Black Press file photo)
Harrison Mills boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

A real estate sold sign hangs in front of a Canadian property Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy.
Fraser Valley Real Estate Board breaks sales records 6 months in a row

‘Levels never seen before in the 100-year history of the FVREB’

Rendering of proposed homeless shelter and supportive housing facility on Rowat Avenue and Trethewey Avenue in Chilliwack. (BC Housing)
Supportive housing and shelter proposed to replace the Portal in Chilliwack

Province looking to fast-track hybrid proposal for 50 supportive homes and 40 shelter spaces

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A memorial to Hudson Brooks outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment. (File photo)
Surrey officer who fatally shot Hudson Brooks recounts ‘absolutely terrifying’ incident

Const. Elizabeth Cucheran testified at coroner’s inquest Tuesday morning

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read