The Surrey Courthouse, the busiest Provincial Court location in the province is about to receive a $24.3-million expansion, paving the way for faster and smoother access to justice, and demonstrating government’s commitment to meeting the justice needs of B.C.’s communities.
Mayor Linda Hepner joined Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton and Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Amrik Virk and announced the addition of three courtrooms and two hearing rooms for the Surrey Courthouse, which has the largest criminal caseload in the province.
“Government recognizes the pressures on courthouse facilities resulting from the rapid growth of the lower Fraser Valley’s population,” said Minister Anton. “That’s why we are investing $24.3 million to add new courtrooms and hearing rooms to the Surrey courthouse. These improvements will help ensure timely access to justice for British Columbians by alleviating delays caused by caseload backlogs.”
The project was identified as the top priority in the Lower Fraser Valley Regional Plan: Court Capacity Expansion Project released in February 2014 and will help to ease caseload pressures by providing additional space for cases to be heard. Construction is expected to begin in January 2016 with the completion of the expansion slated for late 2017.
A key outcome of the Surrey Criminal Justice Task Force was also announced — a recommendation for the creation of an Integrated Services Network to be led by the City of Surrey.
“The Task Force’s recommendation of an Integrated Services Network in Surrey will help directly address the root causes of crime,” said Mayor Hepner. “This means that cases involving mental health, health and family matters, will be referred to timely support services. Ultimately, this will allow for a greater chance of success in reintegrating offenders into positive roles in society.”
The network would be a single location for all agencies involved in the delivery of programs and services aimed at reducing crime in Surrey. The initial phase would establish an administrative centre for offices in the justice, health and social service sectors.
The Surrey Criminal Justice Task Force was convened in February 2014 by Anton and the City of Surrey to study persistent crime problems in the community and identify solutions.
Image via City of Surrey