Ottawa

Tax advocate, heritage expert agree: Don't let 24 Sussex fall into further disrepair

Both the federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and a heritage expert agree that doing nothing with the shuttered prime minister's residence is costing the country far too much, and say it's time to make a decision.

'It's time we make a decision to either fix it or tear it down and replace it'

Some believe it would be cheaper to tear down the prime minister's official residence at 24 Sussex Drive and rebuild rather than try to fix all of its problems. (Canadian Press)

Both the federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and a heritage expert agree that doing nothing with the shuttered prime minister's residence is costing the country far too much, and say it's time to make a decision.

It's been more than 10 years since an auditor general's report called for "urgent repairs" to 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa.

Doing nothing doesn't save us money.- Aaron Wudrick, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

But since no prime minister wants to be seen spending taxpayer dollars on feathering their own nest, the repairs have not been made and the fate of the building remains unresolved.

Now, Aaron Wudrick of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the government to tear the house down and build something new.

Leslie Maitland, left, and Aaron Wudrick, right, agree that doing nothing with 24 Sussex Drive is costing taxpayers too much. (CBC)

"I think it's time we get on with it. I know that politically it's difficult for a prime minister to say, 'I want to spend money on my house,' but let's remember that it's not just a prime minster's house; it belongs to all of us. And we are wasting money keeping it running," Wudrick told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning on Wednesday.

"It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars even if nobody's living in it. So I think it's time we make a decision to either fix it or tear it down and replace it," he said. "Doing nothing doesn't save us money."

Leslie Maitland, a past president of Heritage Ottawa, doesn't want the building torn down, but agreed with Wudrick that it's time to get the ball rolling because letting it fall into further disrepair will cost more in the long run.

"Deferred maintenance is a scourge on our infrastructure. This should have been fixed up long ago," Maitland said.

What do you think?

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CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning

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