Durham Region Courthouse Completed On Time And On Budget

Facility Consolidates Regional Justice Services

OSHAWA, ON, Dec. 3 /CNW/ - Construction of the Durham Region Courthouse is complete, improving access to justice for area residents.

The Honourable Gerry Phillips, Ontario's Minister of Energy and Infrastructure and the Honourable Chris Bentley, Attorney General, attended a ceremony at the new courthouse in Oshawa today. The ministers were joined by Joe Dickson, MPP for Ajax-Pickering, Rick Johnson, MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, Region and His Worship John Gray, Mayor of Oshawa, to unveil a plaque signifying the end of construction.

The new courthouse, built on time and on budget, consolidates justice services currently provided in eight different locations across the region. It features:

    
    - 33 courtrooms
    - three motions rooms
    - three conference/settlement rooms
    - related justice services
    - up-to-date technology and security systems.
    

As part of the government's commitment to creating and promoting energy conservation in Ontario, the new facility was built to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification, which includes rigorous requirements for energy management and conservation.

"The Durham Region Courthouse is the first courthouse project to be completed under our government's Alternative Financing and Procurement program," said Phillips. "This new modern, efficient and integrated courthouse will bring together court services operating in eight locations across the region under one roof - a practical move that will help improve access and delivery of justice."

"This courthouse is a state-of-the-art facility that will increase access to justice and improve services for the people of Durham region," said Bentley.

"The Durham Region Courthouse will provide our community with modern courthouse facilities to meet the growing needs of Durham Region," said Joe Dickson, MPP for Ajax-Pickering.

"The Durham Consolidated Courthouse will add a facet in our city's core that will be truly unique to anywhere else in the region." said His Worship John Gray, Mayor of Oshawa. "As a result of this significant investment by the province of Ontario, the momentum of our downtown revitalization will be kicked into high-gear. New businesses, such as law firms, will be locating in Downtown Oshawa, creating jobs and opportunity. Thousands of people will be converging into Downtown Oshawa every day, frequenting restaurants and shopping more than ever before. The revitalization of Downtown Oshawa has truly reached a new milestone."

In March 2007, Access Justice Durham was selected as the team to design, build, finance and maintain the new courthouse. Construction of the new facility began in May 2007. At the peak of construction, there were more than 400 construction workers on site daily.

Over the next two months, staff will transition into the new courthouse from the existing facilities across Durham Region. The Durham Region Courthouse is expected to be fully operational by March 2010.

Infrastructure Ontario worked with the Ministry of the Attorney General to develop the Durham Region Courthouse. Infrastructure Ontario is a Crown corporation dedicated to managing some of the province's larger and more complex infrastructure renewal projects - ensuring they are built on time and on budget.

Visit www.infrastructureontario.ca for more information about this project.

    
                                 BACKGROUNDER
    

The Durham Region Courthouse is a modern, integrated facility that will consolidate Superior Court and Ontario Court justice services currently delivered from eight different locations across the Durham region. Located in downtown Oshawa, Ontario, the new courthouse will improve access to justice services and help spur economic development across the region.

With 33 courtrooms under one roof, the new courthouse will increase the capacity to deliver timely and efficient justice services in the Durham Region, with:

    
    -   Six courtrooms outfitted for video remand and additional courtrooms
        with video conferencing capabilities.
    -   The flexibility to accommodate trials requiring additional security
        and trials with multiple accused.
    -   Two remote video testimony rooms to accommodate vulnerable and child
        witnesses.
    -   Enhanced accommodation for interpretation including one jury room
        permanently equipped for simultaneous interpretation and three
        portable interpretation booths.
    -   Barrier free design, including no courthouse steps, five fully
        barrier free courtrooms, infrared hearing assistance and barrier free
        witness stand, jury box and spectator positions in all courtrooms.
    

The design of the Durham Region Courthouse reflects two important principles: creating a healthy workplace and contributing to a sustainable environment. The courthouse was designed to achieve the Canada Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification, which emphasizes energy efficiency, reduced water use and improved indoor environmental quality.

Innovative features that will reduce energy consumption, help lower operating costs and improve waste management practices include:

    
    -   Using Energy Star compliant roofing material to significantly reduce
        cooling requirements during summer months. Products bearing the
        Energy Star symbol must meet specific criteria and are among the most
        energy-efficient on the market.
    -   Using storm water collected from courtyard and roof downspouts for
        landscape irrigation to reduce outdoor water use by 50 per cent.
    -   Reducing water use in washrooms by 20 per cent with ultra low-flow
        plumbing fixtures and dual flush toilets.
    -   Diverting 75 per cent of job site construction waste by salvaging or
        reusing materials.
    -   Making a commitment to reduce energy consumption by 42 per cent -
        compared to a similar building designed in compliance with the Model
        National Energy Code for Buildings - and meeting an annual energy
        consumption target. Energy use exceeding the target will be paid for
        by Access Justice Durham, the team selected to design, build, finance
        and maintain the new courthouse.
    -   Providing more than one acre of newly landscaped open space.
        Courthouse Square is an outdoor courtyard with trees and seating
        areas for public use.
    

About 1,500 people, both staff and visitors, are expected to conduct business daily in the new facility, bringing increased demand for restaurant meals, office space and other services in downtown Oshawa and contributing to the revitalization of the downtown Oshawa area.

Disponible en français

SOURCE Infrastructure Ontario

For further information: For further information: Amy Tang, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, Minister's Office, (416) 327-6747; Erin Moroz, Ministry of the Attorney General, Minister's Office, (416) 326-1785; Jennifer Sclisizzi, Infrastructure Ontario, (416) 325-7409; Brendan Crawley, Ministry of the Attorney General, Communications Branch, (416) 326-2210


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