© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Province House in Charlottetown during renovations in November 2013. (file photo)
166-year-old provincial legislature building in need of repairs
Members of the committee responsible for the administration of the legislative assembly have taken their concerns about the state of Province House to the federal government.
On Tuesday, Infrastructure Renewal Minister Robert Vessey and Opposition Leader Steven Myers met with federal officials including Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq and Fisheries Minister Gail Shea to talk about renovations to Province House.
In an interview with The Guardian, Vessey said they talked about the importance of restoring the building.
"They're in there looking at it now and we wanted to try and lobby for a long-term fix, which we all are expecting," he said.
The trip to Ottawa was in response to the need for repairs and renovations on the 166-year-old building, which has been facing a series of problems that included a recent closure after a section of plaster fell from the ceiling.
Emergency repairs were also required last year to secure an exterior wall and an engineer's report prepared for Parks Canada showed extensive problems that could take years to address.
Parks Canada took over responsibility for Province House in 1974 and has spent $6.6 million on the building since a restoration project that was finished in 1984.
As environment minister, Aglukkaq is responsible for Parks Canada.
Vessey said he felt it was a positive meeting.
"We just want to make sure we can do all we can to get our share to bring Province House back to something Islanders and Canadians can be proud of."
As for when the repairs will be started, Vessey said he wasn't given a timeframe and he didn't know how much it would all cost Parks Canada.
"It's hard to put an exact price tag on it yet, but it's going to be expensive."
Vessey said he was optimistic the legislative assembly would be able to use the building this spring.
"I haven't heard anything different yet."
Although it's unusual for political opponents to represent the province together, Vessey said that as members of the legislative management committee he and Myers put politics aside for this issue.
"I think it shows them that we're committed to the same outcome for Province House."
An attempt to speak to Myers about the meeting was unsuccessful.