WHERE THE MONEY GOES
The National Capital Commission on Tuesday revealed its spending plan for the $55 million in repair funds earmarked in the last federal budget, but the agency could probably use a lot more to fix one of its most important assets — the one at 24 Sussex Drive.Pablo Rodriguez became heritage minister in the July cabinet shuffle, succeeding Mélanie Joly. The job comes with the responsibility for the NCC. Rodriguez said he still has to discuss priorities with the agency, but he’s letting the NCC guide the future of the prime minister’s official residence.“The NCC is independent, but we do realize that 24 Sussex is an important heritage building. In terms of history, it means a lot to us,” Rodriguez said during an event outside the Museum of History in Gatineau. “We’re discussing with the NCC to see how they want to move forward, but they’re independent from the government.”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family are living at Rideau Cottage on the grounds of Rideau Hall while the NCC figures out what to do with 24 Sussex, which is uninhabitable.The NCC’s focus on Tuesday was the projects it can deliver with the $55 million. A special examination published by the auditor general in 2017 found the NCC had a “significant deficiency” in asset maintenance.The agency said it will spend $13 million between 2018 and 2019 on planning and design and $42 million between 2018 and 2020 on construction.Repairs to pathways and other assets damaged by the spring 2017 floods will eat up $6 million.The NCC took reporters on a tour of the damaged Voyageurs Pathway along the Ottawa River in Gatineau between the Museum of History and the Portage Bridge. Flooding buckled concrete and washed away the ground, creating a lengthy shutdown of the scenic riverside route, which has spectacular views of Parliament Hill. The NCC is working on $612,000 in repairs and hopes to have the path open by late fall.One reason it took so long to address the repairs is that the 700-metre section of path has multiple owners. The NCC, the province of Quebec and Domtar have land rights there.Other fix-up jobs will happen on the Lac-des-Fées and De l’Île pathways in Gatineau, in the Champlain Bridge parking lot in Ottawa, and along the shoreline on Victoria Island. The NCC is also repairing the electrical distribution system at Lac Leamy in Gatineau.When it comes to crossings, the NCC is looking for a designer and technical consultant to draw up repairs to the Hog’s Back swing bridge. A bridge on the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway near LeBreton Flats will be replaced and the Portage Bridge is getting upgrades.There will also be $12.8 million in repairs to NCC buildings, including the Ottawa New Edinburgh Club, 25 George St. (Mamma Grazzi’s Kitchen), the former Geological Survey of Canada building at 541 Sussex Dr., and 537 Sussex Dr. (Social Restaurant).Road projects will happen at the Blair Road boat launch, and in Gatineau Park at the access road to O’Brien House and Wilson House, the access road to Kingswood Cottage and the Lac Philippe Parkway.The NCC will pump another $4.5 million into managing tree damage caused by the emerald ash borer, and monuments and public art will get rehabilitated for $1.5 million.Mark Kristmanson, CEO of the NCC, said the agency is still calculating its outstanding deferred maintenance tab.
Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, centre, and NCC CEO Mark Kristmanson, second from right, lead a group along the Voyageur Pathway, which is closed for repairs to the damage from the floods in 2017. It is slated to reopen in the fall.
© PressReader. All rights reserved.