Time to fix up the crumbling Senate

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It will cost an immense fortune

What a waste...



It’s about time to repair the Senate chamber which is almost 100 years old.

Rather than fix it, I would do something else with the Senate. But that’s another story.

The Stephen Harper government has decided to retain the Senate and for that the Senate Chamber needs to be redone top to bottom, inside and out.  The outside stone walls are coming apart and the mortar is crumbling. 

The inside is in terrible shape, and a lot of it is long-ago outdated. 

Even the copper roof needs repairs, so do the wooden windows, they need to be sealed or replaced, the electricity needs to be redone –still a lot of knob and tube -- the heating and air conditioning need modernization, and so does the plumbing.

The chamber needs desks and chairs, modern telephones, an electronic security system; even the old red carpet is worn out in places...

It can easily take 10 years and cost a minimum of $ 1 billion to do. That's an awful lot of money.  All of it for a Senate that many people want closed down. A fortune and for what?

The massive project should begin in 2018. But first  a place must be found for the Senate to meet and offices to accommodate all 105 senators and their staffs.

The Harper government believes that it has found just such a place - a very nice historical place. It’s the Government Conference Centre, which is Ottawa’s former Union Station, nearly 100 years old, located opposite the Chateau Laurier Hotel.

But it too will require to be renovated before the senators can move in and set up shop as the Senate. It will take at least four years of work and  cost at least $ 200 million. That’s even before work on the current Senate can start in 2018, and hopefully finish by 2028.

Add it up for yourself -- $1 billion for the Senate chamber, plus another $ 200 million of more for Government Conference Centre.

Now that’s money. Easier to understand now why a great many people say that it’s too expensive to have a Senate in Ottawa.



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