WATCH ABOVE: After years of waiting and pushing the provincial government, Red Deer will receive a new justice centre. Fletcher Kent has the details from Red Deer.
The Alberta government has set aside at least $97 million over the next four years to plan and build a new justice centre in Red Deer.
The new Red Deer Justice Centre will increase the number of courtrooms in central Alberta from seven to 12. It will also include a resolution services wing, which the government said will provide dispute resolution, civil and family mediation, arbitration and other alternatives to court.
“The new Red Deer Justice Centre will resolve a long-standing space shortage in the community and ensure vital justice services are delivered effectively to residents of central Alberta,” Premier Rachel Notley said.
— Fletcher Kent (@FletcherKent) March 30, 2017
Officials in Red Deer have been pushing for a new courthouse for years. Since the existing courthouse was built in the 1980s, the population of Red Deer has nearly doubled, Notley said. The current Red Deer courthouse serves more than just the central Alberta city, it serves all of central Alberta.
For nearly three years, Red Deer’s traffic court has been operating out of a hotel.
READ MORE: Red Deer traffic court moves to hotel
“We have been actively working with the Alberta government and local stakeholders for a number of years to resolve the critical need for court capacity in Red Deer,” Mayor Tara Veer said.
“Community safety is a priority for citizens in Red Deer and this region, and this significant announcement acknowledges the province’s support of this justice need. A new Red Deer Justice Centre, including 12 courtrooms, helps ensure more charges are upheld – an important part of the city’s enforcement and community safety efforts.”
The City of Red Deer secured land for a new courthouse more than six years ago, close to the Remand Centre downtown. Infrastructure Minister Brian Mason said “barring any unforeseen problems” this will likely be the site of the new justice centre.
“They kept the candle in the window waiting for somebody to make the right decision. We finally did,” Mason joked.
The facility will be built with the potential to expand to 16 courtrooms in the future, the province said.
Planning and assessment work will begin immediately. The hope is to have shovels in the ground by the end of 2018.