Retaining Supreme Court services a priority, says Chilliwack mayor

Chilliwack could see provincial court services expanded under the plan, with two more courtrooms built at the Law Courts by 2028.

Some in Chilliwack are worried the city may be about to lose traction as a Supreme Court centre in the wake of last year's report from a provincial consultant calling for a shift to Abbotsford.

Some in Chilliwack are worried the city may be about to lose traction as a Supreme Court centre in the wake of last year's report from a provincial consultant calling for a shift to Abbotsford.

City of Chilliwack will continue lobbying to keep Supreme Court services in Chilliwack, despite a year-old recommendation to make Abbotsford the regional centre for upper court services in the Lower Fraser Valley.

The report, released in February of 2014, called for a dramatic increase in courtroom capacity for both provincial and supreme courts over the next 20 years.

Construction of a new $62 million court facility in Abbotsford with five Supreme Court courtrooms is the centrepiece of the plan.

Chilliwack, meanwhile, could see expanded provincial court services, with the consultant’s report calling for two more courtrooms to be built by 2028.

“A Supreme Court presence will be retained in Chilliwack,” the report pledges.

But that scenario, described in the “LFV Regional Plan Court Capacity Expansion Project” released by the province, has some in Chilliwack fearing the city may be about to lose its historic role as a Supreme Court centre.

“We will do everything in our power to keep it,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. “It’s is a topic that is near and dear to our hearts in Chilliwack.”

Significant numbers of court professionals and legal services are now established in Chilliwack, so it’s important that Chilliwack be left with “more than just a court registry,” or unused courtrooms, after the changes are made in the coming years.

Regional court services in the Lower Fraser Valley may be in flux, but city officials are vowing to lobby and do whatever they can to retain a functioning Supreme Court presence in Chilliwack.

“We made it clear to provincial reps that we expect to have a fully functioning courthouse, and we impressed upon them the importance of Chilliwack as a central location to access to the justice system,” Gaetz said. “It’s high on our list of priorities.”

It’s been important to Chilliwack for years.

Local elected officials, including city reps and former MLA Barry Penner, launched a vocal and ultimately successful campaign in 2000 to keep court services in Chilliwack when plans were to centralize services elsewhere.

City of Chilliwack contributed $2.1 million at the time for the land assembly required for courthouse building construction.

Some have also suggested that court changes are coming from the city.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Gaetz.

The city does not have jurisdiction over court services, which is a provincial matter.

Next step is forming a working group at city hall of staff and council to meet with the provincial decision-makers about the regional court capacity expansion plans.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

 

Just Posted

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

Vanessa Dueck.
Snapshots of a Chilliwack father from his loving daughter

Father’s Day memories of special moments shared together

Rachel is a six month old Labrador retriever cross who was found at large. She is seen here at the Chilliwack SPCA on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Rachel at the Chilliwack SPCA

6-month-old puppy found at large, now at Chilliwack SPCA, needs special home

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

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

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

Most Read