Bay Roberts lawyer de­cries court clo­sure

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER vn­mercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Re­ac­tion to the 2016 pro­vin­cial bud­get con­tin­ues to pour in, with a Bay Roberts lawyer be­moan­ing the Lib­eral govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to close pro­vin­cial court in Har­bour Grace.

“The ser­vices that are go­ing to be ter­mi­nated will be a pretty big hit to the area,” said John Brown. “That build­ing has been ad­min­is­trat­ing jus­tice in the area since the area was speak­ing French.”

Court ser­vices were moved out of the old stone build­ing ear­lier this year and into the Babb Build­ing in Har­bour Grace.

On Apr. 14, govern­ment ap­proved the clo­sure of the Har­bour Grace court along with three other court­houses. It’s a move that is ex­pected to save the prov­ince $1.3 mil­lion an­nu­ally start­ing next year. Prior to mov­ing into the Babb Build­ing, ren­o­va­tions were made to the space that cost the prov­ince $48,000.

Mean­while, the an­nual lease on the prop­erty is ap­prox­i­mately $280,000.

“It’s the sec­ond or third of its size in the prov­ince,” said Brown. “We don’t have a lot of courts and it’s a very busy court.”

To the best of his knowl­edge, Brown be­lieves ei­ther courts in Clarenville or St. John’s will work to fill the void left by the im­pend­ing clo­sure of the Har­bour Grace court.

Then there’s polic­ing mat­ters. Hav­ing a lo­cal RCMP trav­el­ling to ei­ther of th­ese places leaves de­tach­ments in Bay 709-683-8676 Pame­laNor­man@Ex­itReal­tyNL. www.TeamNor­man.ca Pam Nor­man Real Es­tate Roberts and Har­bour Grace short on mem­bers should they be re­quired to at­tend court.

“The clo­sure af­fects all sorts of things,” said Brown.

Along with the RCMP is­sue, he men­tioned ad­di­tional charges for clients when it comes to pay­ing lawyers, govern­ment travel rates and other items.

Brown also noted the rate at which cases are com­pleted will be af­fected. With no court in Har­bour Grace, trips to St. John’s would po­ten­tially de­lay pro­ceed­ings.

“The loss is go­ing to re­sult in a de­crease in speed of ser­vices,” he said. “It hurts busi­ness. It’s a dras­tic dis­ser­vice to the peo­ple. It’s a huge loss of ser­vice. “It’s pretty dev­as­tat­ing.” Brown is in the process of writ­ing a book on the stone court­house on Harvey Street. Built in 1830, the Har­bour Grace court­house is the old­est pub­lic ince.

“It was go­ing to be a book. Maybe now, it’ll be a death no­tice,” said Brown.

A rally in sup­port of the court­house is sched­uled for Wed­nes­day at 12:30 p.m. this week. NAPE, a union rep­re­sent­ing court­house em­ploy­ees, hopes to push govern­ment into re­con­sid­er­ing its de­ci­sion. build­ing in the prov-

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Bay Roberts lawyer John Brown is against the planned clo­sure of the Har­bour Grace court­house.

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