© Photo special to The Guardian by Brian Simpson
Province House in the snow photographed by provincial photographer Brian Simpson.
The centerpiece of the P.E.I. 2014 celebrations will be closed for a few months after a large chunk of plaster fell from the ceiling at Province House last month.
Since then the legislative assembly’s staff have had to relocate to the Atlantic Technology Centre until repair work is finished.
In a statement from Parks Canada, a spokeswoman said a section of plaster four-feet wide and 10-feet long fell in the north entrance on Jan. 21.
Parks Canada said it took immediate action by contracting an architectural and engineering company to conduct in-depth testing.
“The safety of visitors and occupants at Province House National Historic Site is a priority for Parks Canada,” the statement said.
Coles Associates Ltd., which was hired to do the testing, advised Parks Canada that the building is safe but the plaster on the ceiling near the main stairwell needs to be replaced.
That work is underway and will be finished by the time the legislative assembly opens in April, the statement said.
It also said the consultant wasn’t able to determine why the plaster fell.
The legislative assembly staff that had to move includes the offices of the clerk and Speaker of the House Carolyn Bertram.
A statement from the Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Department said the decision was made to move the staff for their health and safety.
“An occupational health and safety report recommended that staff be moved from Province House due to the dusty conditions resulting from the renovation work.”
The falling plaster is just the latest in a series of problems at Province House, which has undergone about $1.6 million in renovations and repairs over the last year to help stabilize the building and prevent water infiltration.
In December Parks Canada had to deal with water dripping into the building after ice built up on the roof and leaked in through windows.