Tories table $10M in annual funding for repair, preservation of Legislative building
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/03/2019 (1545 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Just shy of its 100th birthday, the Manitoba Legislative Building is getting a facelift the provincial government says is long overdue.
Finance Minister Scott Fielding tabled a bill in the house Friday to legislate about $10 million annually in infrastructure maintenance costs over the next 15 years. He said about $150 million in deferred maintenance costs have accumulated under previous governments and need to be looked after.
Under Bill 21, the Legislative Building Centennial Restoration and Preservation Act, Fielding is proposing the creation of a legislative advisory committee to provide oversight on future repairs and take into account any fixes Manitobans suggest. (The bill was tabled, but not distributed Friday due to a procedural delay by the Opposition.)
The province’s top priorities include addressing water leaks in the building, repairing metalwork on balconies, and replacing deteriorating or missing pieces of stonework.
“We want to make investments because this is a heritage, historical building not just for Manitobans, but really for Canadians,” Fielding said.
“It’s just unbelievable this building. Manitobans from all walks of life use this building,” he added, noting how frequently locals take wedding pictures at the site.
The government also wants to set aside $2.5 million for ongoing maintenance of the 250,000-square-foot building, starting in 2034. It plans to start some repairs this year, with the first point of focus being fixing up the exterior on the north side.
Building officials took media on a tour of the inner workings Friday, scaling the roof and climbing stairs and ladders to reach the perch underneath the Golden Boy statue’s feet, more than 60 metres above the ground.
They pointed to numerous cracks in the building’s stonework and dirt accumulated from storms. Staff also said the legislature needs new metal flashing and more waterproof membranes installed to prevent future damage.
Gordon Goldsborough from the Manitoba Historical Society participated in Friday’s tour, and was happy to hear about the building’s pending makeover.
“This is truly a magnificent building, but you know the fact is it’s almost 100 years old and any building of this age would inevitably need maintenance,” he said.
“And it’s a little sad to think the building hasn’t been getting the maintenance that it’s needed and that’s why I’m just so glad to hear that the maintenance is going to begin.”
In 2002, the Golden Boy, dome and tower at the legislature underwent some repairs, as did the building’s roof in 2010 and its skylight over the main staircase in 2012. Altogether, those repairs cost more than $10.5 million, the province said.
The cost to build the Manitoba legislature (completed in July 1920) was pegged around $9 million, according to a government spokesperson (roughly $113.4 million, adjusting for inflation).
Officials said recreating the legislature would cost more than $1 billion by 2019 standards, however, and getting an exact replica would be impossible because materials and mechanical systems from the 1920s wouldn’t be available.