Nfld. & Labrador

Dunderdale defends renovations to premier’s office

The multi-year overhaul of Confederation Building includes redeveloping the premier's office, which has some opposition MHAs questioning the government's priorities.

Liberals question spending as Confederation Building costs mount

Liberal MHA Andrew Parsons questions whether the renovations to the premier's office are absolutely necessary. (CBC)

The multi-year overhaul of Confederation Building includes redeveloping the premier's office, which has the Opposition questioning government's priorities.

Liberal MHA Andrew Parsons is questioning the necessity of renovations, after the costs of the project climbed to $50 million, up from just over $20 million.

"Well no doubt that the Confederation Building is old, but there's a couple of buildings older in this province that could use renovation," Parsons said.

"One of them is the Corner Brook hospital. Older, in worse shape, and I'd say it's a little more important that the premier's office getting renovations."

Parsons said there are a number of hospitals in the province, including the Waterford Hospital, that should take precedence over the premier's office.

"This is being done in the face of huge deficit in the province. People talking about getting laid off, job cuts, and the premier's office needs to be done? I'd question what their priorities are."

Premier says buckets have been necessary

However, Premier Kathy Dunderdale said the renovations to the premier's office are part of a construction plan that has been around for three years.

Premier Kathy Dunderdale says the renovations have been planned for three years as a necessary overhaul of Confederation Building. (CBC)

"There have been no renovations approved for the premier's office other than the same ones that have been done to their offices and every other office in east block," Dunderdale said.

"This has been in the planning for three years, so everybody has known about it for three years."

She said the tower section can hardly hold up to storm weather conditions.

"You really should come in to the premier's office when we have a rain storm," Dunderdale said. "You have to manoeuvre your way through the buckets because there's rain coming in everywhere."

Dunderdale said renovation costs would not be nearly as high as they are now had proper, regular maintenance been done on the building.