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Operating Engineers slam decision to nix Halton courthouse

Operating Engineers slam decision to nix Halton courthouse

OAKVILLE, ONT. — Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) is asking the Ontario government to reverse its decision to cancel the Halton courthouse project.

Scheduled to begin construction in early June, the project would have an immediate beneficial impact by creating jobs and stimulating the province’s economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, stated a May 12 release.

“IUOE Local 793 calls on the Ford government to reconsider the project right away and invest in the infrastructure and jobs that are a vitally needed shot-in-the-arm stimulus for our economy,” Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher said in the statement.

The statement said the cancellation will undermine confidence in the province’s infrastructure program at a time when the government wants to get the economy going.

“Canada and Ontario are not some backwater jurisdiction that replaces years of planning and a job rendering process with knee-jerk decisions that make us appear to be so unreliable that no contractors could waste their time and energy on bidding jobs here,” Gallagher remarked.

The announcement to cancel the project came May 8. The $300-million courthouse was slated for construction in Oakville.

The provincial statement said existing courthouses in Milton and Burlington would be refurbished. The IUOE statement noted that $2 million has been spent on mould remediation alone at the Milton courthouse with more remediation needed.

The provincial government said it will direct its resources for the courthouse project toward developing ways of delivering justice remotely and online.

“It is unfathomable that the Attorney General’s office would cancel the hundreds of jobs needed and a project two years in the planning with the absolutely ridiculous notion that ‘virtual justice’ could replace the real justice that courtrooms with juries, judges and the legal profession bring to ensure that justice is not denied,” Gallagher said.

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