By Keith McNeill
It appears that provincial court will continue to be held in the District of Clearwater council chambers for at least another two years.
During its Jan. 23 meeting, Clearwater town council voted to extend the lease agreement with Court Services for a further two year term and that a five per cent increase per year be negotiated.
This was despite some concern that the operations at DoC were somewhat disrupted during court days.
However, Mayor John Harwood pointed out that there are only a limited number of court dates (an average of nine to 12 times per year for traffic and regular court).
“Court dates do produce a different atmosphere but only for a few hours,” he said.
The mayor noted that there aren’t a lot of suitable locations to hold court in Clearwater.
If court moved to Kamloops it would create difficulties for local residents, who would either have to travel to the city or else testify online.
Councillor Ken Kjenstad said that the RCMP had advocated keeping the court in Clearwater as otherwise the officers called on to testify would need to spend a whole day away.
Court in Clearwater was formerly held in a series of connected portable buildings located next to what is now the Buy-Low shopping centre.
With the construction of the shopping centre and the renovation of the former Dutch Lake School into the Dutch Lake Community Centre, the court function was moved and the former court building demolished.
First court was held in DLCC on Sept. 22, 2015.
READ MORE: Clearwater court changes venue (Oct. 3, 2015)
The rent charged for the use of the council chambers, storage space and two interview offices is presently $1,350 per month. With the five per cent increase per year this would rise to $1,400 per month in the second year.
District of Clearwater leases the former school from School District 73 and then sub-lets a portion to Court Services.