THUNDER BAY – Chris Bentley, Attorney General, Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan, and the Honourable Michael Gravelle, MPP for Thunder Bay – Superior North, together with First Nations leaders and local politicians celebrated the official groundbreaking for the new Thunder Bay Consolidated Courthouse on Thursday. The facility is planned with a number of firsts for Ontario. The courthouse will consolidate the Superior Court of Justice and Ontario Court of Justice, which currently operate in separate locations. The new multi-storey building, which will be located between Brodie and Archibald streets, south of Miles Street, in Thunder Bay’s downtown south core, will have space to accommodate 15 courtrooms and four conference/settlement suites.
Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan said, “The Thunder Bay Consolidated Courthouse will have an impact on the revitalization of downtown Thunder Bay. This project has great significance for not only the justice community, but local businesses, community agencies and residents. Now that construction is underway, the courthouse project will create new jobs and spur economic development that will benefit everyone in the region.”
Included among the conference/settlement suites will be Ontario’s first Aboriginal Conference Settlement Suite, designed to give a stronger voice in the justice process to First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. The suite will be a culturally and architecturally relevant space where aboriginal traditions are acknowledged and understood and where court matters such as case conferences, pre-trials, and family and civil hearings can be dealt with in a way that supports the healing process.
As a part of the government’s commitment to creating and promoting energy conservation in Ontario, the new facility will be built to Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Silver standard, which focuses on energy efficiency, healthy indoor environments and reduced greenhouse emissions. The building will also feature barrier-free design including barrier-free public access to courtrooms, infrared hearing assistance and barrier-free witness stands and jury boxes.
The courthouse construction project will provide a boost to the regional economy by creating and supporting hundreds of jobs. At the peak of construction, it is estimated that 225 workers will be on site daily. Construction of the new courthouse is expected to be completed in autumn 2013.
Infrastructure Ontario is working with the Ministry of the Attorney General to develop the new courthouse. Infrastructure Ontario is a Crown corporation dedicated to delivering some of the province’s larger and more complex infrastructure renewal projects – ensuring they are built on time and on budget – and to providing the public sector and not-for-profit organizations with long-term financing to renew their infrastructure.
Chris Bentley, Attorney General stated, “This new state-of-the-art courthouse offers an accessible and culturally relevant space that will meet community needs for years to come. By having all court services housed under one roof we are improving access to justice.”
“Not only will the Thunder Bay Consolidated Courthouse improve access to justice services in the region, but it will also be a green building, meeting rigorous requirements for energy management and conservation,” commented Michael Gravelle, MPP for Thunder Bay – Superior North.