Ms. Sgro and Ms. Block, thank you for your statements.
I want to be very clear about what is coming before the BOIE right now. We're not approving the visitor centre—and I don't think there is even consensus about moving to a visitor centre—but the excavation contract is something we're proposing be tendered for now, to begin in January 2020.
A ballpark figure of 22,000 square metres allows the BOIE, after the election, to either scale up if the decision is to add the visitor centre—and I think there will be a time and a place to discuss and debate that—or scale down to the minimum requirements, which Mr. Patrice and Mr. Wright have indicated are part of the essential elements of supplying the mechanical updates to the Centre Block. That would be 12,500 square metres.
The scalability, I think, is very important to all three of us. A decision should not be taken around the visitors' centre now. The excavation contract allows us to scale down to the essentials, or, if a future BOIE decides to go with the visitor centre, to scale up to the ultimate size, which would be about 33,000 square metres.
The excavation contract does not block us in and is not a decision to move ahead with the visitor centre. It is not. I feel pretty strongly about that. It's not a decision we should be making just a few weeks prior to a general election. The BOIE and the committee coming out of the election can then have that debate and discussion, and decide whether that excavation contract is scaled down to the essentials—12,500 square metres—or scaled up to another concept.
I'm comfortable with recommending the excavation contract and moving ahead with it, with the caveat that the BOIE can decide that we just keep to the essentials in the new year.