April 29, 2018 10:11 am
Updated: December 12, 2018 4:57 pm

Parliament Hill’s Centre Block closing for a decade for renovations

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The Centre Block of Parliament is set to close for 10 years this fall as Public Services and Procurement Canada gears up to restore and upgrade the country’s most recognizable symbol of democracy.

According to PSPC, every aspect of the building is going to be upgraded from the exterior stone shell, the copper roof, the steel structure to the building systems themselves.

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The project will also improve technology and security, to meet modern codes and to ensure seismic reinforcement suitable for Ottawa’s active seismic zone. PSPC will do all this while restoring and respecting heritage character of the building.

“This is a huge and complex job that involves careful long-term planning as we ensure that Parliament continues to function and the Hill remains accessible to visitors and tourists,” Jean-François Létourneau, media relations for the PSPC, said in an email.

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Currently, the team working on the project is working on a series of enabling projects, an investigation program and a functional program to facilitate schematic design for the updated Centre Block..

Once the Centre Block is vacated, PSPC will also complete an investigation program where the walls will be opened up and the building structure will be examined. The heritage assets and features of the building, along with the mechanical, electrical and life safety systems will also be investigated.

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“While much is known about the condition of the building, this investigation work is necessary to have a true picture of the scope, schedule, and budget required to restore the building and ensure best value for Canadians,” said Létourneau. “This portion of the work is anticipated to be complete in 2019.”

Though the building will be closed to visitors, the House of Commons and Senate will still be accessible with the houses being moved to the West Block and Government Conference Centre, respectively.

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So far, $3 billion has been approved for restoring all of Parliament with $1.8 billion having already been spent, $862.9 million of it on West Block.

PSPC says that they are working to make sure that attractions are open for visitors and that events can still be held while the project is ongoing. The Great Lawn will remain accessible during construction.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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