New Zealand Law Society - Justice and Emergency Precinct opening put back again

Justice and Emergency Precinct opening put back again

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The opening of the Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct has been delayed again, and is now tipped to open in October.

The $300 million Precinct will bring together all justice and emergency services in one purpose-built, leading-edge precinct in the centre of the city.

Construction began in July 2014 and it was hoped the contractor, Fletcher Construction, would complete the building in late March 2017.

But in March the Ministry of Justice said it expected agencies to move into the Precinct during the third quarter of 2017.  

In his column for the July issue of Canterbury Tales, New Zealand Law Society Canterbury-Westland President Craig Ruane says the opening is likely to be even later.

“Although no formal announcement has yet been made it seems likely that we will move from the Durham St Courthouse to the new building in mid-October,” he says.

“The last admission ceremony in the old High Court has now been scheduled for Thursday, 12 October with indications that a final sitting will be held immediately after the admission ceremony.”

In a previous column noting the delay to sometime after 1 July 2017, Mr Ruane said that “some delays are probably expected in a project of this size”.

A ministry spokesperson says the timeframe remains largely the same.

“Earlier this year, Fletcher Construction revised its indicative completion dates for the Precinct. Fletcher Construction has committed to handing over the Justice Building by 30 June 2017 and the Emergency Services Building by 14 July 2017.

“While agencies are moving in through August, there will be a period of testing and fine-tuning operations before the Precinct is fully operational in the final quarter of 2017.”

The historic dais and canopy will not be able to be housed in the new Precinct and instead has a new home in the Canterbury Museum.

An estimated 2,000 people will work in or use the 42,000 square metre five-floor Precinct every day. It will be located on the block defined by Lichfield, Colombo, Tuam and Durham streets.