Media scan: Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs—February 27, 2020

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Parliamentary Precinct

Media coverage related to the Parliamentary Precinct in the last few months has been low to moderate, mainly factual with a balanced tone. Articles with a negative tone pertained in good part to the lengthy process for the rehabilitation of Centre Block and to the perceived indecisiveness with regard to the future of 100 Wellington. Coverage of the newly launched Block 2 project and of the Long Term Vision and Plan (LTVP) for the precinct as a whole had a more positive tone.

Long Term Vision and Plan

The LTVP was reported on mostly factually and positively, highlighting previous renovation projects successfully completed by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) under the LTVP. The Hill Times listed several LTVP-related projects noting that some of these won multiple awards. The article lists the Sir John A. Macdonald Building, the Wellington Building, the West Block Building, and the Senate of Canada Building as award winners. The Ottawa Citizen quotes David Flemming, chair of the Heritage Ottawa Advisory Committee, The federal government does an excellent job when it does upgrade its properties, hiring top architects and winning numerous awards for design excellence, sustainability and heritage conservation.

Articles regarding Long Term Vision and Plan

Centre Block

Media coverage related to the Centre Block has been moderate and mostly factual since the renovations began in 2018. Coverage has focused on different aspects of the project including timeline, cost, scope, and general details of the work being done. Several outlets reported negatively on the timeline, saying that renovations are expected to take up to 10 years to complete. The Hill Times notes that a final budget has yet to be determined for the project but that more than $770-million in contracts have been awarded to date. Other articles also noted that the project is 4 times larger than the West Block project. Following an interview with a PSPC subject matter expert, CTV reported on the Building Information Model (BIM) and how it is a key tool for the rehabilitation of Centre Block. The article quotes a PSPC media response on the cost of the BIM: the cost to support the BIM technology is approximately $180,000, but is promised to help save money and time in the long-term by allowing the project team to make data-informed decisions.”

Articles regarding Centre Block

100 Wellington

Media coverage relating to 100 Wellington has been moderate and factual, with most articles highlighting the uncertainty of the building’s future. In January 2020, The Hill Times reported on the short-term renovations that were done to the building and noted that while the work was concluded in June 2019, the building “though not yet open-and with no opening date yet known.” The article adds that a long-term use for the Indigenous People’s space is yet to be determined. It also reports that the holdup is due to an ongoing disagreement between stakeholders in deciding the building’s future, specifically on the vision of the Indigenous People’s Space initiative. In February 2020, CBC reported that a group of Métis citizens from Western Canada was left waiting in the cold as they sought approval from federal bureaucrats to enter the building. David Chartrand, vice-president of the Métis National Council is quoted as saying "If it's our building, why don't we have keys?"

Articles regarding 100 Wellington

Block 2 project

Media coverage on Block 2 was moderate, factual for the most part, and mainly positive except for a certain emphasis on the possibility of some buildings having to be torn down. In January 2020, iPolitics reported that PSPC “launched a plan to raze old buildings across Ottawa's Wellington St directly in front of the Peace Tower to create yet more new spaces for [member of parliament ]MP offices and parliamentary committee rooms.” CBC reported that there is no estimated cost or schedule for the project, only noting that it “marks the latest step in a series of expansive renovation and rehabilitation projects costing billions of dollars that aim to modernize Ottawa's aging parliamentary precinct.” The iPolitics article mentioned that several members of parliament (MP) contacted were not aware of this plan, “Block 2?” said Pembroke Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant, "I don't even know what a Block 2 is." On the positive front, several outlets reported on the architectural design competition for Block 2. Kathleen Kurtin, president of the Ontario Association of Architects, is quoted by CBC as saying "This is a landmark location that deserves a special solution, which a design competition is sure to tease out."

Articles regarding Block 2 project

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