Question Period Note: Status of the long term vision and plan for the parliamentary precinct

About

Reference number:
PSPC-2022-QP-00013
Date received:
Jun 3, 2022
Organization:
Public Services and Procurement Canada
Name of Minister:
Tassi, Filomena (Hon.)
Title of Minister:
Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Issue/Question:

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is implementing the Long Term Vision and Plan (LTVP) – a multi-decade strategy to restore and modernize the Parliamentary Precinct. The core of the Parliamentary Precinct includes the grounds and buildings on Parliament Hill and the three city blocks directly facing it.

PSPC is also supporting Crown-Indigenous Relations (CIRNA) to develop a national space for Indigenous Peoples within the Parliamentary Precinct. The project includes the re-development of the former CIBC building located at 119 Sparks Street and an infill space between the two buildings.

Note: Questions related to the Indigenous Peoples’ Space (100 Wellington) should be directed to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. CIRNA has an overall lead responsibility for the Indigenous Peoples’ Space with active support from PSPC

Suggested Response:

  • In partnership with Parliament, we are restoring the Parliamentary Precinct for future generations of Canadians, and making it modern, safer, greener and more accessible
    • Our focus is on restoring the Centre Block and transforming the Parliamentary Precinct into an integrated parliamentary campus through the redevelopment of the three city Blocks facing Parliament Hill
    • The Precinct is home to some of Canada’s most iconic heritage buildings, including the Centre Block, and we are committed to preserving them for Canadians and modernizing them to support a 21st century Parliament

If pressed on costs and governance for the Centre Block Rehabilitation Program:

  • The Centre Block is the largest and most complex heritage rehabilitation ever undertaken in Canada
  • To ensure this heritage masterpiece can serve Canadians for another century, it needs to be taken apart carefully and rebuilt to integrate modern standards including a reinforced structure, seismic upgrading, and new building and digital system
  • The restored Centre Block will be more accessible and secure through the addition of a Parliament Welcome Centre and will also be transformed from one of the government’s highest energy users and Greenhouse gas-emitting buildings into a carbon neutral facility

If pressed on the trompe-l’oeil tarp on Centre Block:

  • As one of Canada's most recognizable landmarks, the Parliamentary Precinct is a key driver for the National Capital Region’s tourism industry which attracts approximately 3 million visitors each year
  • Working hand-in-hand with Parliament, Public Services and Procurement Canada will be installing a decorative tarp that replicates the image of the Centre Block, known as a trompe-l’oeil
  • The trompe-l’oeil will mitigate the visual impact of construction activities on the Centre Block and provide a positive visitor experience from both sides of the Ottawa River
  • The trompe l’oeil installation began on June 1st, starting with the north façade and will eventually extend around the sides and the front of the building, including the Peace Tower, as the masonry rehabilitation program progresses
  • The House of Commons, the Senate, and the Library of Parliament have all approved the installation of the trompe-l’oeil. The City of Ottawa, the City of Gatineau, Ottawa Tourism, Tourisme Outaouais, and the National Capital Commission have all expressed strong support for this initiative. The design of the trompe l’oeil was coordinated with Parks Canada to accommodate the Sound and Light Show

If pressed on construction industry strikes impacts:

  • The recent construction industry strike had significant impacts on construction projects across the province of Ontario, including the Centre Block Rehabilitation
  • The overall impact of the strikes halted almost all construction activity on the Centre Block construction site for a period of three weeks
  • With the strikes over, the schedule and cost impacts are currently under review. The cost impacts will be largely dependent on increases in labour rates

If pressed on the redevelopment of Block 2:

  • The redevelopment of Block 2 will bring a new vitality to Canada’s Parliamentary Precinct and will transform a mix of functionally obsolete buildings into an innovative complex to meet the needs of a 21st century Parliament
  • In partnership with Parliament, Public Services and Procurement Canada successfully completed an international design competition for the redevelopment of Block 2, the city Block directly opposite the Centre Block
  • The winning design concept by the Zeidler/Chipperfield team that was selected by an independent jury respects the heritage elements of the buildings while providing modern, sustainable and accessible accommodations for Parliament

If pressed on design, cost and schedule of Block 2 Redevelopment:

  • While bidders were provided with a global construction value to ensure a level playing field among competitors, a project cost estimate has not been established yet
  • We are finalizing negotiations for the design contract and establishing detailed functional requirements with Parliament to create a baseline project budget. The baseline project budget is targeted for late 2022, with construction beginning in 2024
  • The construction estimate provided to bidders in the Request for Proposal is only a portion of a project cost estimate. The complete project cost estimate will be formed by a construction estimate based on a detailed scope, including final parliamentary requirements, and other significant cost items such as the cost for the design contract and all other professional fees, design and construction contingencies, IT and furniture, escalation and risk

If pressed on the Terry Fox Memorial Statue:

  • The Terry Fox Memorial Sculpture will be relocated as part of the Block 2 redevelopment
  • In anticipation of the redevelopment, Public Services and Procurement Canada has been working closely with the Fox family, , the National Capital Commission and the City of Ottawa to find an appropriate and dignified location for the sculpture that will continue to honour this national hero

If pressed on 100 Wellington:

  • Public Services and Procurement Canada continues to support Crown-Indigenous Relations, the Algonquin Nation and the National Indigenous Organizations in developing a national space for Indigenous Peoples’ in the Parliamentary Precinct
  • Public Services and Procurement Canada will continue to ensure that the design and construction for the entire block honours and respects the significance of the Indigenous Peoples’ Space, which sits at the heart of Canada’s Parliamentary Precinct

If pressed on Wellington Street as part of the Parliamentary Precinct:

  • The Parliamentary Precinct is a complex environment involving many actors with overlapping accountabilities, including Parliament, Public Services and Procurement Canada, several other federal departments and agencies, the City of Ottawa and security agencies. This creates issues of ownership, security and governance
  • The Parliamentary Precinct has changed and is continuing to evolve. Within the next decade, approximately 50% of parliamentary offices will be located on the other side of Wellington Street, which no longer serves as a boundary for the Precinct, but runs right through its core
  • Collaboration amongst all stakeholders is critical to developing a plan that enhances the security of the Parliamentary Precinct, and also ensures that it is open and accessible to Canadians
  • Working together to create a safer and more secure Precinct is also an opportunity to resolve issues of governance more broadly

If pressed on Parliamentary engagement, Governance and Key Decisions:

  • Public Services and Procurement Canada works hand in hand with Parliament to plan and deliver the Long Term Vision and Plan
  • As part of this collaborative process, each House of Parliament establishes project requirements and priorities to support their parliamentary operations
  • My mandate is to work with each House of Parliament to ensure that parliamentary requirements are being met in a manner that preserves our heritage and ensures value for money
  • PSPC continues to work collaboratively with Partners to meet their needs in a cost-efficient manner that respects our heritage buildings

If pressed on Indigenous involvement in the Precinct:

  • Public Services and Procurement Canada is working collaboratively with the Algonquin Nation, Indigenous-led organizations, and other communities to ensure that Indigenous Peoples are involved in the re-building of Canada’s Parliamentary Precinct
  • This collaboration includes skills development, apprenticeship and economic opportunities, including an Archaeological Field School to train community members in preserving and managing archaeological findings and agreements with Indigenous business and stakeholders aimed at dedicating 5 percent of procurements to Indigenous businesses
  • Public Services and Procurement Canada is also working with stakeholders on incorporating Indigenous elements into the design process as well as the transfer of Indigenous artifacts in the Parliamentary Precinct

Background:

The LTVP was first approved in 2001 and updated in 2006 for the restoration and modernization of Canada’s Parliamentary Precinct. This program supports the mandate commitment of advancing work to rehabilitate and reinvigorate places and buildings of national significance. All major projects continue to track on time and budget.

PSPC has invested approximately $4.2 billion in the Parliamentary Precinct to date. This has created over 60,000 jobs in local and national economies in, for example, engineering, architecture, construction, manufacturing and skilled trades sectors.

In 2017, the LTVP began shifting from a building-by-building strategy to a campus-based approach, approved by all Parliamentary Partners, that takes into consideration important and interconnected elements including security, the visitor experience, urban design and the landscape, material handling, the movement of people and vehicles, environmental sustainability, and accessibility. The LTVP is currently undergoing a second update to transform the Precinct into an integrated campus beyond Parliament Hill.

With a goal of reaching of 5% of procurement with Indigenous businesses, PSPC has established agreements with organizations, such as the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA), the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers (Cando), the Aboriginal Apprenticeship Board of Ontario (AABO) and the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council (AANTC) to assist with fulfilling that target as it pertains to the Parliamentary Precinct.

The restored West Block and Senate of Canada Building and the new Parliament Welcome Centre (Phase 1), were transferred to Parliament in fall 2018. These projects followed the completion of the 21 key projects since the Library of Parliament in 2006, including the 180 Wellington Building (2016) and the Sir John A Macdonald Building (2015).

Efforts are now focused on restoring and modernizing the Centre Block and transforming the Precinct into an integrated parliamentary campus that addresses Parliament’s long-term requirements, including material handling, the movement of people and goods, accessibility, sustainability, and security.

Wellington Street

The Parliamentary Precinct, including Wellington Street and its environs (e.g., Sparks Street) is a complex environment involving many stakeholders with varying and overlapping areas of accountability.

The recent illegal protests in Ottawa brought to the fore three key longstanding issues of multiple actors and jurisdictional barriers, regarding: 1) ownership and control; 2) security; and 3) governance.

While these issues and risks have long been a focus of attention in the management of the LTVP for the Parliamentary Precinct, the illegal protests clearly demonstrated the elevated risk associated with multiple entities managing a space that plays a central role in the operations of Canada’s democratic institutions.

The future role of Wellington Street is a critical consideration for other reasons as well. The restoration and modernization efforts in the Parliamentary and Judicial Precincts are increasingly shifting operations to the south side of Wellington Street. Within the next decade, approximately 50 per cent of parliamentarians will be permanently accommodated on the south side of Wellington Street. In addition, the Société de transport de l'Outaouais also plans to use Wellington Street as the route for its public tram project.

The immediate priority for ensuring clear accountability within the Precinct is removing jurisdictional barriers that prevent a clear and coordinated response to emergent and ongoing security matters. At this point, there is emerging consensus amongst stakeholders on core issues and some recommended paths forward. However, without coordination amongst the many actors, there is a significant risk that this alignment will not be harvested to produce broad-based recommendations for clear action.

Centre Block Rehabilitation Project

PSPC is restoring and modernizing the Centre Block and transforming the entire Parliamentary Precinct to make it safer, greener and more accessible to Canadians. The Centre Block project is the largest and most complex heritage rehabilitation project in Canada’s history. To restore this heritage masterpiece, it needs to be carefully taken apart, undergo an extensive abatement program and be rebuilt to integrate modern standards, including reinforced structure, seismic upgrading, and new building systems including mechanical, electrical and a modern digital backbone and security systems. The construction of a new Parliament Welcome Centre that will provide a safe and secure and accessible entry to Parliament and will enable Parliament to welcome more Canadians and offer enhanced visitor services is also a key component of the project. The project cost is estimated at $4.5 to 5 billion, with substantial completion of construction targeted for 2030-31 and the re-opening of the building targeted for 2032. The project cost is estimated at $4.5 to $5 billion, with substantial completion of construction targeted for 2030-31 and the re-opening of the building targeted for 2032.

Work Stoppages

The 2022 truck protests stopped work on the Centre Block and Parliament Welcome Centre from January 28 to February 21. The cost of the delay is estimated at $3 million ($190,000 for 16 days) and was absorbed as part of the risk envelope.

For three weeks in May 2022, several construction industry unions went on strike including crane, equipment and elevator operators, demolition labourers, and carpenters. These strikes had significant impacts on construction projects across the province of Ontario, including the Centre Block Rehabilitation. This strike action halted all major construction activity on-site with the exception of the masonry rehabilitation on the Centre Block, which continued to progress but at a much slower pace. Schedule and cost impacts are currently under review now that strike action has ceased and will be largely dependent increases in labour rates.

Overall status

Construction work is advancing in tandem with the careful removal of in situ protection of the more than 20,000 heritage assets. The selective interior demolition and the removal of hazardous materials is approximately 70% complete, which includes the removal of approximately 16 million pounds of asbestos containing material to date. Excavation work for the new Parliament Welcome Centre is approximately 65% complete with over 27,000 truckloads of rock removed from the site.

Construction activities are now focused on excavation work for the new Parliament Welcome Centre, interior demolition and the abatement of hazardous materials and masonry rehabilitation.

A key aspect of the Centre Block project is the restoration of the building’s heritage masonry, which includes almost 400,000 stones. Masonry rehabilitation of the north facade of the Centre Block has begun, and is now approximately 25% complete, which represents approximately 5% of the overall masonry work. Masonry rehabilitation includes the repair and repointing of the entire building, including the Peace Tower. This work will involve the removal of approximately 35% of the stones to conduct repairs and in some cases the replacement of damaged stone. A tarp is required to create a climate-controlled and safe environment for this important work. Tarping will be in place for several years for the duration of the masonry rehabilitation program.

Trompe l’oeil

A tarp is required to create a climate-controlled and safe environment for this important work. Tarping will be in place for several years for the duration of the masonry rehabilitation program.

The cost for a standard tarp on all façades of the building is approximately $1.5M. The incremental costs associated with the trompe l'oeil is approximately $2.4M for a total of almost $4M. The Trompe-l'oeil will mitigate the visual impact of construction activities providing a positive visitor experience. The Peace Tower clock image on the trompe l’oeil will be set to 11:45 a.m., which represents the start time of the 1927 inauguration of the Peace Tower and Carillion.

There are no plans to install a trompe-l’oeil on other buildings within the Parliamentary Precinct at this time.

Job creation

The Centre Block rehabilitation project is expected to create an additional 70,000 jobs in its lifespan in the engineering, construction, architecture and interior design, masonry, and restoration sectors, providing economic benefits for Canadians. In addition, PSPC is also targeting 90% of the work delivered will flow to small and medium enterprises across Canada, with 5% of work to be carried out by Indigenous firms. To date, over 500 companies are engaged on the project and 50 initial internships have been created from 10 Canadian colleges and universities to date. At the project’s peak, over 1,500 construction workers will be on site daily working with pride to revitalize Canada’s Parliament Building. Currently, there are 400 workers on site daily.

Block 2 Redevelopment

The rehabilitation and modernization of Block 2 – the city block bounded by Metcalfe, Wellington, O'Connor and Sparks streets – will transform a mix of functionally-obsolete heritage buildings into a modern, sustainable and accessible facility for Parliament. This project is a critical piece of the shift to an integrated campus, advancing many objectives at the same time. The redevelopment of this block will provide a significant benefit to Canada’s Parliament and our Capital; it will support the consolidation of Parliament into a modern campus; and finally it will enable emptying key buildings such as the East Block and Confederation Buildings to proceed with their restoration.

This work will also create two new infills on each side of the Indigenous Peoples’ Space (the former American Embassy), and see the redevelopment of adjacent buildings, creating large flexible interconnected complexes, all while preserving the overall heritage character of the Block. Over the coming year, PSPC will work with the Senate and House of Commons to finalize the sequence for the next tranche of the LTVP.

Design Competition

The Block 2 architectural design competition was officially launched by PSPC in May 2021. PSPC prequalified 12 firms and invited them to participate in the competition. On September 24, 2021, an independent jury evaluated the design concepts of 11 prequalified firms (one withdrew their submission) and shortlisted 6 competitors in early October 2021, who subsequently advanced to stage 2 of the competition. Those 6 competitors presented their designs to the jury and the Canadian public through a public presentation that took place on April 11, 2022. The jury then deliberated from April 20 to 22, 2022, and provided PSPC with their recommendations.

On May 16th, the Minister announced the top three finalists and the winning design:

  1. Competition Laureate and winning design: Zeidler Architecture Inc. (Toronto, Canada) in association with David Chipperfield Architects (London, United Kingdom)
  2. Second place design: NEUF Architects (Ottawa, Canada) in joint venture with Renzo Piano Building Workshop (Paris, France)
  3. Third place design: Watson MacEwen Teramura Architects (Ottawa, Canada) in joint venture with Behnisch Architekten (Boston, United States)

Engagement is ongoing with the competition laureate to negotiate an Architectural and Engineering Services contract. A cost estimate will be determined after these negotiations, and when the full scope of project is determined in partnership with Parliament (targeted for Fall 2022).

Victoria Building

The Victoria Building was not initially included as part of the Block 2 program because there was no available swing space in the area. Through ongoing planning, additional swing space for Victoria tenants was identified at 40 Elgin, allowing PSPC to advance Victoria to be rehabilitated as part of the Block 2 works. 40 Elgin already accommodates Senator offices.

Advancing work in Victoria results in significant cost savings overall – approximately $65M in cost savings compared to the baseline option, and approximately $200M in cost savings compared to advancing the East Block project schedule instead of Victoria. PSPC acquired the additional space in 40 Elgin by taking over a lease from the NCC for this space, at a cost of $137M over a 20-year period. The end state of 40 Elgin will be 63 Senator offices and related support services and 87 parking spaces.

Indigenous Peoples Space at 100 Wellington

As part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to renew relationships with Indigenous Peoples and advance Reconciliation, in 2017 the Prime Minister announced that 100 Wellington Street (the former United States Embassy) would be transformed into a national space for Indigenous Peoples. The project also includes the re-development of the former CIBC building located at 119 Sparks Street and an infill space between the 2 buildings. 100 Wellington and 119 Sparks are federally designated heritage buildings.

100 Wellington and 119 Sparks are both situated in Block 2, the city block facing Parliament Hill that is bounded by Wellington and Sparks Streets to the north and south, and Metcalfe and O’Connor Streets to the east and west.

CIRNA worked with Indigenous partners to develop a three step strategy for the space’s development:

  1. Development and implementation of a short-term use concept
  2. Short-term use while working with Indigenous groups to establish a governance structure and establish a vision for long-term use; and
  3. Long-term use development and implementation (design, construction and operation)

To date, the project has not advanced as planned due to a lack of consensus on the short-term use of the spaces. PSPC continues to support CIRNA, the Algonquin Nation and the National Indigenous Organizations in developing this national space for Indigenous Peoples in the Parliamentary Precinct.

The Indigenous Peoples Space is not part of the Block 2 redevelopment project at this time, but there is flexibility to on-board it if desired by Indigenous partners.

Advancing Accessibility and Sustainability

PSPC is committed to making the Parliamentary Precinct a model for universal accessibility excellence. It will achieve, and in some cases exceed, accessibility standards. The West Block and Senate of Canada Building include barrier-free access and improved accessibility features in the Chambers, public galleries, offices, meeting places, washrooms and corridors.

The LTVP is reducing the Government’s carbon footprint. PSPC has reduced greenhouse gas levels in the Precinct by 66% from 2005 levels and is on track for reductions of 95% by 2040 while also diverting more than 90% of demolition materials from landfills.

Additional Information:

None

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