TRURO - The province is investing $1 million for site selection and to begin design work for a new Truro Justice Centre.
The announcement was made on Tuesday as part of the province's new capital plan that will see $23 million invested in Nova Scotia.
"Courthouses and correctional facilities are key pillars of the justice system and we want them to be modern, safe and efficient for our staff, partners and those Nova Scotians who need them," said Justice Minister Ross Landry in a news release.
"These are strategic investments that will make our justice system better and strengthen the economy of the communities where they are located, both during and after construction and renovation."
The proposed new Truro Justice Centre would replace two aging courthouses - the provincial courthouse on Prince Street and the Supreme Court on Church Street.
Truro mayor Bill Mills has mixed emotions about the announcement for a site selection and design on a new building.
Mills said the last he heard, the owner of the building where the provincial courthouse sits had purchased adjacent buildings.
"They were going to tear those down and expand, so I wonder where that went," he said.
In terms of Supreme Court, the courthouse has a home with the Colchester County municipal building on Church Street.
"The town had been in touch with the province a number of times on the Normal College, but they said it wasn't suitable for that," Mills said about the possibility of the Supreme Court moving there.
He said the Normal College would have been a prime location for a courthouse as it is beside the Truro Police Service.
The work announced is in addition to ongoing improvements to courtrooms across the province. A total of 23 courtrooms are scheduled for some alterations to further improve safety and security for judges, lawyers, sheriffs and participants.
In total, the province will invest about $23 million on justice system upgrades. The following is a breakdown:
- $6 million to continue upgrades to the Law Courts in Halifax.
- $15 million for the Northeast Nova Scotia Correctional Facility.
- $1 million to select a site and begin design work for the proposed new Truro Justice Centre.
- $900,000 to replace sheriffs' vans and other vehicles.