Assistant Deputy Minister’s message—The Long Term Vision and Plan Annual Report 2015 to 2016
I am pleased to provide you with the Long Term Vision and Plan Annual Report presenting our progress and achievements for fiscal year 2015 to 2016. Much is being accomplished to preserve and enhance the Parliamentary Precinct for current and future generations of Canadians, and to provide Parliament with the accommodations it needs to operate effectively and safely in a modern, connected and sustainable world.
The Parliamentary Precinct is the home of Canada's parliamentary system and the place where our country came together almost 150 years ago. The Parliament Buildings were opened even before the act of Confederation was completed in 1867. These historic buildings continue to be enduring symbols of our nation's history. But they also point to our future. The Parliament Buildings remain the workplace where Canada's potential and our place in the world are defined.
The Parliamentary Precinct is also the place where millions of Canadians and visitors from abroad come each year to meet with parliamentarians, engage in their democratic rights, participate in national celebrations, learn about our shared history, and visit the magnificent buildings where the ongoing work of our country takes place. Parliament is a living institution in which all Canadians are invested.
I am enormously proud of our role in shaping Canada's capital to support the operational needs of a 21st century parliamentary democracy, to provide an environment where Canadians gather and to serve as an outward face to visitors from abroad.
Rehabilitating and modernizing 150-year-old heritage stone buildings—while ensuring that Parliament continues to function uninterrupted—is complex work. The nature and scope of this task is unparalleled in Canada. When work began over a decade ago, there were few examples in the world of this type of large-scale heritage rehabilitation and only limited craftspersons in Canada with the skills needed for the work.
With the full rehabilitation of several classified heritage buildings now either completed or well underway (e.g. Library of Parliament, Sir John A. Macdonald Building, Wellington Building, Government Conference Centre and West Block), the Parliamentary Precinct Branch has amassed considerable capacity and expertise and is now a world leader sought for advice and guidance on the restoration of heritage campuses.
One of the keys to our success has been partnerships with the private sector and academic institutions across the country to help build capacity in the artisanal heritage trades and to find innovative approaches in leveraging 21st century technology to help restore these 19th-century buildings. Cleaning of the heritage masonry is now done using laser technology; laser scanning and digital fabrication supplement the traditional techniques of highly skilled sculptors; and sophisticated three-dimensional digital modeling is now facilitating the design, rehabilitation and operation of the buildings in more efficient and cost-effective ways.
The work we are carrying out offers the opportunity to not only restore but also modernize the Parliamentary Precinct. For example, new state-of-the-art communication and broadcast facilities provide parliamentarians with better tools to reach out to and engage with Canadians on the future of our country. The replacement of antiquated infrastructure with energy-efficient systems and sustainable features also substantially reduces Parliament's environmental footprint and contributes to Canada's broader conservation objectives. This year, for example, a significant suite of environmental and energy-saving features were completed in the Wellington Building. From rooftop solar panels that pre-heat domestic water to air handling systems that heat and cool the building only when needed, this building is now a model for Long Term Vision and Plan (LTVP) projects.
Fiscal year 2015 to 2016 has been another outstanding year of hard work and meaningful results. With several large projects underway concurrently, we made solid progress on all fronts. Dedicated work over the past several years has resulted in tremendous progress in our efforts to restore and modernize the Parliamentary Precinct. I am happy to report that all of our major projects met their performance objectives and all remain on schedule and on budget. In the past year, the Wellington Building was brought to the threshold of completion and will provide accommodations for 70 Members of Parliament, 10 new Committee Rooms and a stunning new satellite library.
We are especially honoured that our work is receiving wider recognition. This past year, the Sir John A. Macdonald Building received critical acclaim and won several awards for heritage conservation, outstanding design and the reuse and repurposing of a heritage building.
Over the next two years we are focused on completing the West Block, Phase 1 of the Visitor Welcome Centre and the Government Conference Centre. Once completed, the Centre Block will be emptied and its full restoration will begin. The launch of the Centre Block project will be a major milestone for Parliament and our efforts to restore and modernize the Parliamentary Precinct. It will be the largest and most complex heritage restoration project ever undertaken in Canada.
Our work is progressing according to plan and delivering results for Parliament and Canadians. The projects are generating thousands of jobs, building capacity and homegrown expertise in specialized fields, and they continue to drive the development of innovative technologies in heritage rehabilitation.
Our team is dedicated to the work at hand and looks forward with enthusiasm. There is a sense of common purpose and a commitment shared with Canadians to preserve and celebrate our country's heritage and modernize the Parliamentary Precinct to reflect our evolving nation and our aspirations for the future.
Assistant Deputy Minister
Parliamentary Precinct Branch
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