Province House's deterioration 'devastates' councillor
Historical building should be repaired no matter what the cost, says Coun. Eddie Rice
P.E.I.'s badly deteriorating Province House must be repaired at whatever cost due to its prominence in Canada's history, says Charlottetown Coun. Eddie Rice.
The damaged condition of Province House is outlined in a 500-page report completed in May 2013 for Parks Canada, which leases the building from the province.
The report was only released to the media about three weeks ago, through an Access to Information Request.
Rice, who represents Ward 1, where Province House is located, was a member of a committee in the 1980s that oversaw a major restoration of the building that returned it to its original character of 1864.
"I was really devastated that the building had gotten to the shape that it was in and some of the conditions that were reported," said Rice.
"It meant the building was becoming endangered, and I mean seriously endangered. We are in bad shape here," said Rice.
Province House is currently closed for repairs to plaster that has been falling from the ceiling, as well as to gutters and downspouts. Also, a steel beam was installed on the third floor, all along the south side of Province House, and another beam behind a wooden enclosure at the south entrance.
Architects found the building has extensive water damage between the stone walls, disintegrating mortar and rotting support timbers.
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They also found parts of walls were at risk of collapsing, posing a threat to the public.
Federal and provincial officials put the cost of repairs at between $30 million and $40 million.
Parks Canada declined to speak with CBC News. However, it said in an email that the issues requiring immediate action have been dealt with, and the temporary closure of Province House will be lifted March 24.
But those are just temporary measures.
Architects say the work will likely go on for years and require an extended closure.
"It's the national shrine of the country and the seat of the legislature for P.E.I. since 1847 and it's also the centre of Charlottetown," said Rice.
"Somebody has to take it on. And I hope that somebody does it soon because it's so significant."