There is no question that Canada's seat of democracy, the Parliamentary Precinct in Ottawa, was already overdue for renovation and restoration when the official process started in the 1990's. Studies, inspections, proposals, hearings and predictions play their part in all major spending programs and this huge group of projects certainly fulfilled that norm. And like all long developed and eventually delayed public works, the pricetags keep rising. To date, almost $5 Billion has been spent or budgeted for the massive undertaking. Successive reports over the last 15 years from the Auditor-General have kept a better eye on things than most heralded spending programs.
With the end goal of making the buildings of Parliament prepared into their second century while not interrupting the governance of Canada, the road has been long spanning over a decade so far, with at least another decade to go. The Wellington Building has been completely renovated to house MPs and their staff, Committee rooms, a library, support services and restored to its original grandeur. The West Block is nearing the end of over 6 years of complete refit and expansion to host the House of Commons for the next decade. The iconic former Union Station and Government Conference Centre after 4 years of work will host the Senate until Centre Block is finished. The East Block is in dire need of repair and restoration but it will have to wait for a while. The first new building on the Hill in over 100 years, although mostly underground, the Visitors Welcome Centre will eventually link the 3 Blocks of Parliament and be the public entrance to all of them, maybe by 2030.
Now the big question mark looms. Centre Block. There can be no further delays and it will be completely empty by the end of 2018. There is no question it will take over a Billion dollars and a decade to complete. The View Up Here provides a big picture on restoring Parliament.
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