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Canada’s Capital Region - As steward of the six official residences in Canada’s Capital Region, the National Capital Commission (NCC) recently finalized an assessment, entitled Official Residences of Canada: Asset Portfolio Condition Report.
The report provides a thorough understanding of the portfolio, as well as directions for policy development, strategic planning, long-term development and maintenance of the Capital Region’s official residences.
Overall, the report found that Rideau Hall and Stornoway are in “good” condition; 7 Rideau Gate is in “fair” condition; and 24 Sussex Drive, Harrington Lake and the Farm are in “poor” or “critical” condition.
The entire portfolio includes not only the six official residences, but also an additional 50 ancillary buildings, with a total gross area of approximately 25,000 square metres. All of the buildings are designated “classified” or “recognized” heritage buildings by the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office (FHBRO), reflecting the national significance of the portfolio.
The report also identified that, to properly and effectively manage, maintain and preserve the official residences going forward, the NCC requires the following:
- A one-time injection of $83 million over 10 years to address the deferred maintenance deficit, for all six official residences, as a result of chronic underfunding over many years. This funding would bring the aging portfolio up to “good” condition, but would not result in the modernization of the asset base.
- A further $24.6 million annually for ongoing maintenance, repairs and renovation projects, in line with Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat standards for real property maintenance.
The NCC is committed to addressing the condition of its infrastructure and assets—including the official residences in Canada’s Capital Region. To effectively do so, the NCC will continue to work with the Government of Canada, and with all of its partners and stakeholders, to secure short- and long-term funding.
- The six official residences in Canada’s Capital Region:
- Rideau Hall, home and workplace of the governor general of Canada
- 24 Sussex Drive, home of the prime minister of Canada
- Harrington Lake, country residence of the prime minister of Canada
- Stornoway, home of the leader of the Opposition
- The Farm, home of the speaker of the House of Commons
- 7 Rideau Gate, guest house for official guests of the Government of Canada
- Since 1986, the NCC has ensured that the six official residences provide safe and appropriate accommodation for Canada’s official leaders, and that they serve as inspiring locations for hosting state events and ceremonies.
- The NCC’s stewardship responsibilities for the buildings and grounds of the official residences also include furnishing, maintaining and rehabilitating these properties to preserve their heritage character.
- The official residences serve a number of key functions:
- places for official business;
- accommodation to lodge and entertain foreign and Canadian guests;
- accommodation for the residents, their families and their personal guests; and
- working quarters and accommodation for staff.
- At the time this report was completed, the replacement value of the NCC’s official residences portfolio was estimated at $615 million.
- Eighty percent of the official residence buildings are more than 50 years old, and 20 percent are more than 150 years old.
- Within the next 10 to 15 years, all residences will require significant recapitalization, meaning larger renovation and modernization projects.
- In May 2018, the NCC appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and responded to questions on the condition of the official residences.
THE SIX OFFICIAL RESIDENCES
Rideau Hall: Home and workplace of the governor general of Canada
- Rideau Hall dates from 1838, and has been the official residence and workplace of every governor general of Canada since 1867.
- Condition: good
- Its building systems met operational requirements, and were a low risk to fail at the time of the asset building inspection in 2017.
- Recently, the NCC prioritized the development of a comprehensive strategy to improve universal accessibility throughout the residence, which has most recently included improvements to a state bathroom and the main elevator.
24 Sussex Drive: Home of the prime minister of Canada
- The residence at 24 Sussex Drive was built in 1868. The house was refurbished as an official residence for the prime minister in 1950.
- Condition: critical
- The NCC continues to work with its federal partners, including the RCMP, to develop a plan for 24 Sussex Drive, to ensure that the government is able to make a prudent and informed decision.
- This includes issues related to security, functionality, environmental sustainability, universal accessibility and heritage preservation.
Harrington Lake: Country residence of the prime minister of Canada
- Harrington Lake was built in the 19th century. It became the country residence for Canada’s prime ministers in the late 1950s.
- Condition: critical
- Currently, the NCC is implementing the Harrington Lake Farmhouse Rehabilitation Project.
- Constructed in the 1850s, the Harrington Lake farmhouse has been closed since 2008 due to health and safety concerns, and is in need of complete rehabilitation to prevent further deterioration and restore usability.
- The budget of this ongoing farmhouse rehabilitation work is $2.5 million over two years.
Stornoway: Home of the leader of the Opposition
- Stornoway was built in 1913. Since 1950, it has housed a series of leaders of the opposition.
- Condition: good
- The NCC is currently replacing the roof at Stornoway, as it is essential to the proper maintenance and preservation of the residence.
- The total cost of the roof shingle replacement project will be $60,000. The variables that contribute to the cost of the shingle replacement include the large roof area (approximately 483 m2 or 5,200 ft2), an additional surface of 46 m2 (500 ft2) of cedar on window dormers, and extensive underlay membranes of waterproofing material.
The Farm: Home of the speaker of the House of Commons
- The Farm was built in the mid-19th century. Today, it is the official residence of the speaker of the House of Commons.
- Condition: poor
- There are a number of issues that need to be resolved in the residence, including the building envelope, fire alarm and electrical systems.
- The NCC is undertaking significant upgrades to the fire suppression system, including the replacement of sections of piping and sprinkler heads, as well as new holding tanks.
- The total cost of the upgrades is estimated at $157,000.
7 Rideau Gate: Guest house for official guests of the Canadian government
- The residence at 7 Rideau Gate was built in the late 1860s. Since 1966, the residence has served as a guest house for state visitors.
- Condition: fair
- A number of maintenance projects are planned for this residence, including the replacement of heritage windows, boilers and pumps, upgrades to the fire detection system and the replacement of the domestic water heater.