$3.5 million to strengthen Masterton courthouse

New temporary location found

WALT DICKSON
Last updated 15:21 28/05/2012

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Up to $3.5 million of remediation work will see the Masterton courthouse return to service by April next year.

Masterton courthouse, one of six nationally, has been closed since November last year after an engineering report highlighted significant earthquake risks in the building.

Minister for Courts Chester Borrows says the Masterton courthouse has one of the highest workloads of the temporarily closed courts and reopening it has been a priority for the Ministry of Justice.

"I'm pleased that we can now show the people of Masterton the way forward to restore full court services," says Mr Borrows.

 It is estimated that the remediation work will cost up to $3.5 million, and will be put out to tender after design work has been completed.

A temporary court, including secure areas for holding prisoners, will be established in the former Shoprite supermarket on Church street.  This will accommodate criminal hearings until the return to the main courthouse in April.

 "The former Shoprite site provides an ideal and cost-effective option to tide us over until the main courthouse is reopened.  It will replace the current arrangements at the Frank Cody Lounge in the Masterton Town Hall, and should be operational by late July," says Mr Borrows.

Custodial criminal hearings, which are currently held in the Wellington District Court, will also be moved to the temporarily facility once it is operational. Family and Civil hearings are currently held at Departmental Building, and this arrangement will continue until the Masterton courthouse is operational again.

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