Confederation Building's new blue windows wonky: Liberals

The bright blue windows that are gradually appearing on Confederation Building in St. John's may already need to be replaced, the Opposition Liberals claim.
Eddie Joyce, government leaders spar over Confederation Building repairs 4:43

The bright blue windows that are gradually appearing on Confederation Building in St. John's may already need to be replaced, the Opposition Liberals are alleging.

"We understand that some of the newly replaced blue windows are faulty," Eddie Joyce, the acting Opposition leader, said in the house of assembly.

"I ask the premier: Is it true that these windows will have to be replaced, and if so, at what cost?"

Premier Kathy Dunderdale said brushed aside the question.

"The bluest thing in Confederation Building today is me having to answer these kinds of questions," said Dunderdale, adding that $50 million is being spent on maintaining the government's most prominent building, which was completed more than 50 years ago.

"It is required to happen [and] needed to happen. To replace this building, Mr. Speaker, would require hundreds of millions of dollars."

The Opposition has mocked the governing Tories for selecting a conspicuous shade of blue in the renovation, replacing a shade of green that had been used since the Smallwood era.

Although Dunderdale blasted the Liberals for having "never gotten their facts right" over the multi-year renovation, Joyce made the renovations his focus in the opening minutes of question period on Wednesday afternoon.

Costs have escalated

Joyce pressured Transportation and Words Minister Nick McGrath on the cost of the renovations, which have escalated as the work has continued.

"As we all know, the Confederation Building is an icon for the history of the government of Newfoundland and Labrador and it is something that we feel as a government should be preserved," McGrath told the legislature.

"In doing the renovations, when they were started the price tag was put on it for the $30 million, but once we got into the work we realized there was a lot more work needed to be done with the concrete, for example, and around the windows and that."

When government members heckled Joyce after Dunderdale's comments, Joyce fired back.

"It may be a laughing matter to the Premier and the members opposite, but her parliamentary assistant [Tom Hedderson], when he was the minister, admitted that there was an extra cost to put blue windows in this thing," Joyce said.

"It is not a funny matter when there are people out there trying to make a living and you are here making windows blue. It is a serious issue."


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