Picton Court House will reopen next week, eight months after the building was ravaged by floods that wreaked havoc on the town.
The closure of the building meant the majority of cases were transferred south to Moss Vale Court House and caused a significant inconvenience for those issued with court notices and those employed in the legal fraternity.
It also resulted in lost business for many Picton shop owners who had also been affected by the flood themselves.
The announcement of the court’s reopening went unnoticed by most as it was made on the day former NSW Premier Mike Baird resigned from his post.
Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell said the repairs to the 150-year-old building – which cost about $660,000 – took a while to complete due to the heritage with the court house.
“It’s one of Australia’s oldest buildings and there were a lot of heritage items in there,” he said.
“The contractors had to repair what was there when ordinarily (in newer buildings) they’d just rip up the damaged parts and replace them.
“Where the water level rose to, there was another six foot of water underground.”
Macarthur Law Society president Brett McGrath – who was re-elected to the position for two more years at the end of 2016 – was less than impressed the cases were transferred to Moss Vale Court House while Picton’s was closed.
The legal fraternity has pushed to have cases moved to courts in Camden or Campbelltown, however, the chief magistrate only chose to move a few matters to Campbelltown.
Mr McGrath said reopening was “outstanding news”.
“It’s great for the legal profession and court users that it’s reopening,” he said.
“We are definitely thankful to the Department of Justice and (former) Attorney General Gabrielle Upton.”
Mr McGrath said Picton businesses would reap the rewards of having a functioning court house in the town.
“It’s going to be a good economic boost for the township,” he said.
“There would be a couple of hundred people come into the town on any one sitting day.
“The economic flow on effect will help rejuvenate Picton.”
The court house will be reopened on Monday, February 6 for the purpose of filing documents, with the first sitting date scheduled for Monday, February 13.
There will be no changes to the amount of sitting days with nine or 10 a month still planned.