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article image24 Sussex Needs Massive Repairs

By KJ Mullins     May 7, 2008 in Politics
The latest reports out of Ottawa are 24 Sussex will cost about $10 million to repair. When the reno begins the Prime Minister will have to have other lodgings for as long as 15 months.
Stephen Harper, however, has no plans to go anywhere "between now and the next election," says a spokeswoman.
"The prime minister and his family find 24 Sussex adequate to their needs, and see no need for substantial renovation programs at this time," said Carolyn Stewart Olsen.
Stephen Harper isn't planning on vacating the 34 room house that overlooks the Ottawa River. Built between 1866 and 1868 the house has many of the problems of any other home from that time period. Given the massive size of the home that spans three hectares and it's easy to see why the cost of the renovations could cost as much as they will.
Everything needs to be overhauled from heating to wall fixes. There may be asbestos as well to deal with.
The house is drafty, so drafty that the beautiful bay windows have to have plastic wrap placed on them during the winter.
The repairs needed are a massive undertaking. The ceilings and interior walls have to be opened up to replace wiring, install new air ducts and to remove toxic materials. All the major systems within the residence are out dated and should be replaced, the wiring and plumbing systems are years behind.
By repairing 24 Sussex the home could be a model in green living and still preserve the historical value.
These needed repairs are not news. Before Harper moved into the residence he was asked to wait so they could be completed. Harper refused.
While the repairs could be scheduled here and there it makes most sense to do them all at once and be done with it. That would require for the Prime Minister and his family to be housed elsewhere while the work was being done.
"The official residences are more than housing provided to the country's senior government leaders," Sheila Fraser says. They're also at times used to welcome foreign dignitaries, or to host ceremonies and high-level working meetings.
"They are part of Canada's heritage and need to be preserved."
Now it's just a question of getting Harper to vacate the premises long enough to do what needs to be done.
More about Sussex, Canada, Repairs needed
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