Surrey City Hall will get a new tenant next year when Crown counsel moves in as part of a $3.4-million office relocation and expansion project.
The relocation of Crown counsel offices will occur once the City of Surrey relocates to its new municipal headquarters, and will create more efficient operations, communication and security.
Currently, about 100 Crown counsel staff including prosecutors and legal administrative support work in the Surrey courthouse, operating with only 60 per cent of the space they need. The relocation and expansion project will more than double the space available, support staff work stations, file storage, meeting rooms, witness waiting rooms and other appropriate support spaces.
The project fits with longer-term plans to create a Surrey Justice Precinct in one of the province's busiest justice hubs. As part of those plans, the Province remains committed to investigating the potential for an integrated court that brings together health and social services to achieve more effective justice outcomes.
Funding from the Ministry of Citizens' Services and Open Government will cover design, construction and project management costs to upgrade the city hall space to meet Crown counsel's specific operational and security needs. It is anticipated that the design and renovations will be complete by October 2014.
This project is one of two significant courthouse projects being funded this year. The other is the Lower Fraser Valley Courts Regional Plan announced on April 2 to identify courtroom expansion needs in the rapidly growing communities and recommend solutions for the future.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General -
"Surrey is one of the busiest regional courthouses in the province with more than 16,300 new cases entering the system last year. We are committed to ensuring that our justice infrastructure and long term planning meet the needs of citizens both in Surrey and throughout the Lower Fraser Valley."
Ben Stewart, Minister of Citizens' Services and Open Government -
"Government continues to seek modern and cost-efficient office space for its professional public servants. This new expanded location will provide Surrey Crown counsel and staff with a more secure and efficient environment to perform their work to the very best of their abilities."
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development and MLA for Surrey-Panorama -
"The courthouse at Surrey City Hall is one of the province's busiest justice centres, with roughly 100 Crown counsel lawyers and staff that are currently working within about 60 per cent of the space they need. This $3.4-million office relocation and expansion project will help these workers better keep up with the demands they face every day, and also fits in with Surrey's long-term expansion plans."
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts -
"I welcome the Province's continued investment in the Surrey Justice Precinct and the renewed commitment to create a more innovative and efficient justice system. We look forward to enhancing this partnership and hope to see a further expansion into our existing City Hall as court plans evolve."
- Crown counsel currently has 1,200 square metres of combined office space in the Surrey courthouse at 14340 - 57th Ave.
- Once the renovation and expansion project is completed at 14245 - 56th Ave., Crown counsel will have 2,600 square metres - which more than doubles their current space.
- B.C. spends more than $1 billion each year to support the justice system.
About the provincial court of B.C.: http://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/
About the history of the justice system, including courthouses, in Surrey:http://www.surreyhistory.ca/justicesystem.html
Ministry of Justice
Government Communication and Public Engagement|