Court­house clos­ing for renos

Struc­tural in­tegrity forc­ing court staff to move out

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

The Har­bour Grace court­house is the old­est pub­lic build­ing in the prov­ince, and with age comes its share of prob­lems. The 185-year-old build­ing is in need of re­pairs, and the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment is look­ing for a place to tem­po­rar­ily move court pro­ceed­ings for at least the win­ter.

The pro­vin­cial court in Har­bour Grace ap­pears to be on the move again, and this time it will likely be for a few months in­stead of a cou­ple of weeks.

It comes less than a year af­ter op­er­a­tions were moved to Fong’s Restau­rant in nearby Car­bon­ear for two weeks last Novem­ber.

Ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment of Jus­tice and Pub­lic Safety, is­sues with the struc­tural in­tegrity of the build­ing were iden­ti­fied and “it has been de­ter­mined that the build­ing can­not be oc­cu­pied over the win­ter.”

“The Depart­ment of Jus­tice and Pub­lic Safety is now ex­plor­ing op­tions for al­ter­nate space to ac­com­mo­date court ser­vices in Har­bour Grace and we ex­pect to have some­thing in place within the next few weeks,” a depart­ment spokesman told The Com­pass in an email last week.

Built in 1830, the Har­bour Grace court­house is the old­est pub­lic build­ing in the prov­ince. When the frost sets in, it is pos­si­ble to see the build­ing shift on its foundation.

There are also mul­ti­ple cracks along the eave­strough and the roof needs resh­in­gling.

The last time court was moved, the build­ing’s struc­tural in­tegrity was again at the cen­tre. Some $150,000 was spent to ad­dress the prob­lems. Be­fore that work started, the prov­ince ad­mit­ted fur­ther ren­o­va­tions would be nec­es­sary and re­quire an ex­tended pe­riod of clo­sure for the court­house.

When op­er­a­tions re­turned two weeks later, there were a num­ber of cos­metic dif­fer­ences. Thick wooden props were bolted to one of the out­side cor­ners and three pil­lars came up through the court­room floor.

Ear­lier this sum­mer, a stur­dier wooden deck was built to re­place the shoddy older one.

The tem­po­rary lo­ca­tion for the court has not been de­ter­mined, nor has a mov­ing date been set.

“We do not an­tic­i­pate there be­ing any sig­nif­i­cant dis­rup­tion in court ser­vices. Once a new, tem­po­rary lo­ca­tion for the court has been fi­nal­ized, we will no­tify the pub­lic,” the state­ment said.

COM­PASS FILE PHOTO

The Har­bour Grace court­house was built in 1830 and is the old­est pub­lic build­ing in New­found­land and Labrador.

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