About 26M pounds of asbestos, hazardous materials removed from Centre Block

Click to play video: 'Parliament Hill’s Centre Block undergoes renovations in behind-the-scenes tour'
Parliament Hill’s Centre Block undergoes renovations in behind-the-scenes tour
The Centre Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa is undergoing much-needed renovations, and it is a monumental task. Touria Izri takes us on a tour of what's been done so far – Jun 23, 2023

More than 26 million pounds of hazardous materials — including asbestos — have been removed from Centre Block as the massive renovation project of Canada’s Parliament continues.

That’s roughly the equivalent weight of 1,900 full-sized African bull elephants.

Public Service and Procurement Canada tells Global News that the demolition and abatement work is “substantially complete,” but more hazardous material removals will take place as some structural elements of the building are removed and upgraded.

“That building, as we know, was constructed many decades ago in a world where construction materials were quite different. In 2024, you have to do things in a way that protects the environment and the safety of people,” Procurement Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Tuesday.

However, officials say it is not possible to remove all the asbestos from Centre Block while maintaining heritage elements of the building such as decorative ceilings. In these instances, an encapsulant substance is sprayed to safely contain any hazardous materials.

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Click to play video: 'The West Block: Touring the House of Commons’ temporary new home'
The West Block: Touring the House of Commons’ temporary new home

The procurement ministry says that there will be “very little hazardous material” when Centre Block reopens years from now.

These spots will be logged to inform future work that takes place on the heritage building.

As for safety pre-renovation, the ministry says that there was no risk to building occupants or visitors before the construction began due to encapsulation work on asbestos that was already in place.

The massive overhaul of the central building on Parliament Hill will be completed in 2030 or 2031 and reopening to the public one year later.

The entire project is expected to cost between $4.5 billion and $5 billion.

The most notable new addition for visitors will be a three-level welcome centre. A large trench has been excavated in front of Centre Block to make way for the new welcome centre.


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