Provincial courthouse to open in October

By Laura Barton, The Tribune

Niagara’s new provincial offences courthouse being built on East Main Street in Welland is both on schedule and budget.

Nicole Menard, project manager for Niagara Region, said the exterior of the building has been completed and this week construction crews are working on its parking lot. Finishing the interior will also be taking place.

“We’ve all been working together as a really great team to get it on schedule and open for business as per the original schedule,” she said.

Menard said the project is coming within the $12.4 million budget.

Fall 2017 was the originally announced opening date, and she said that deadline will be met.

Work is expected to be complete by the end of this month, although the official opening won’t be until mid-October so that there is time for staff to move over to the new building.

Although there have been some delays because of the rainy season, there hasn’t been anything that has completely derailed the project. She said a buffer was worked into the planning stages so that work could be done simultaneously by two different parties if needed, which is what is happening right now.

“Our security company is there right now and they’re now working alongside Atlas. Atlas should have been gone, but it’s fine,” she said.

Atlas Corp., the general contractor on the project, has been diligent with trying to mitigate challenges that have come along with the project, Menard said. While construction crews are finishing up the interior, which she said was 90 per cent done as of last week, there are also crews working to install a few different things.

“We have new furniture coming, we have a lot of inner works where it comes to connectivity to our (audio-visual) equipment, our security equipment, our card access,” she said.

The new courthouse stands on the former lands of Empire Public School. Ground was broken for the project last June.

The courthouse includes the latest technology to meet all the requirements set out by the Ministry of the Attorney General, such as complying with accessibility and audio, visual and security systems.

Menard said there will probably be a grand opening ceremony at some point, but she doesn’t know when that will happen yet.