There are indications the provincial government is resuming efforts to reopen the court office in Virden.
Virden’s Chief Administrative Officer Rhonda Stewart told council at their regular meeting on Tuesday that the Manitoba government has reposted the job of court administrator as a permanent full time position.
In the past, the Justice Department only ran the job ad sporadically, saying they couldn’t attract qualified candidates to apply.
Another positive sign from the province is word that it intends to renew its lease of the Virden courthouse for at least another two years.
Town council passed a motion agreeing to lease 2,500 square feet of the municipal building for use as courtroom and court office at a cost to the province of just over $33,000 a year.
Until several years ago, the Virden court office was managed by a full-time employee who looked after the daily business of the court such as processing fines and traffic tickets, managing small claims, swearing documents, and other administrative duties. The office was used frequently by RCMP officers who now have to travel to Brandon for the same services.
The office was mothballed two years ago but the courtroom (which doubles as council chambers) still hears cases when officials come out from Brandon.
Virden council, the RCMP and concerned citizens have complained repeatedly to the province about the hardships experienced by communities in southwestern Manitoba due to the lack of a court officer.