© Guardian photo
Exploratory work is underway at Province House to find out how much work is needed to fix some of the problems with the 165-year-old building.
It will be business as usual during the spring session of the legislature despite ongoing repairs to Province House, says the clerk of the legislative assembly.
Charles MacKay said Parks Canada, which manages Province House, has told him the legislative assembly will be able to use the third floor where much of the construction work is necessary.
"The major work will be done afterward," he said.
Visitors to Province House who ventured up to the legislative assembly chamber this week would have been met with caution tape blocking the door and tarps covering much of the furniture.
It was all part of exploratory work underway to find out how much work is needed to fix some of the problems with the 165-year-old building.
In August 2011, federal Environment Minister Peter Kent announced $2 million in funding for repairs to Province House's foundation, masonry and roof.
But the repairs became more complicated after inspections found masonry on the third-floor walls had deteriorated more than expected because of water infiltrating deeper than initially thought.
Work has already wrapped up on the foundation, which included adding waterproofing and doing some landscaping to make sure water runs away from the building.
While the spring session of the legislature is scheduled to start March 26, MacKay said a few things may be shifted around but the third floor, which includes the public gallery, won't be shut down.
"We have no plans of doing that at all," he said.
MacKay said temporary walls will be up in the photocopier and media rooms.
Karen Jans, acting field unit superintendent with Parks Canada, said about 90 per cent of the investigative work is done, which will be used in putting together a tender package for the rest of the repair work.
Jans said that work will start in May and the third floor will be closed off once the repairs start.
"Most of the visitors, it will have minimal impact on their experience because most of the experience is on the first and second floor," she said.
In the meantime, fencing set up around the outside of Province House will stay up until the repairs are finished.