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Constructors “shocked” by cancellation of $300M Halton courthouse project

Don Wall
Constructors “shocked” by cancellation of $300M Halton courthouse project

The Ontario government has announced it is cancelling the $300-million Halton Region Consolidated Courthouse project just a month before construction was expected to begin.

Attorney General Doug Downey announced the withdrawal in a statement issued May 8, casting the move as part of the government’s effort to establish “new and innovative ways of delivering justice remotely and online.”

The project had gone through the complete Infrastructure Ontario procurement process over several years with only financial close required before the winning team could start building. The new courthouse, replacing aging structures in Burlington and Milton, was to be built on Third Line in Oakville north of Dundas Street.

The winning team was led by Fengate with Pomerleau as its design-build contractor and SNC-Lavalin as the project’s maintenance provider. A release from the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) indicated other partners and equity providers included the Labourers’ Pension Fund of Central and Eastern Canada, the International Union of Operating Engineers (Local 793) Pension Fund and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Pension Fund.

“It is beyond belief,” said OGCA president Clive Thurston. “This is shocking. They were ready to break ground the first week of June.”

The Labourers’ International Union of North America Ontario Provincial District Council and the Hamilton-Brantford Building and Construction Trades Council also expressed disappointment in statements. The building trades council noted it was the second major project cancelled in the region since December, following the cancellation of the Hamilton LRT project.

“If the region is losing almost $1.5 billion in direct public infrastructure investments, there is a real fear that the local economy will fall into further recession in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Mark Ellerker, business manager of building trades council.

Watch for updates to this story.


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