Thank you, Mr. Chair.
As chair of the long-term vision and plan working group, I am here today to update the board on our work from the last working group meetings and our recent meeting with the Senate LTVP subcommittee, and to seek endorsement of our recommendations regarding the proposed approach for the tarping of Centre Block, the construction site hoarding interpretive panels, and the PSPC public engagement strategy.
PSPC presented us with various options for the tarping of Centre Block. While Centre Block undergoes its rehabilitation, the construction work will be happening from basement to roof, inside and out, and access to all areas will be required for the work. General access will be provided by installing scaffolding all around the building, and, along with the access it provides, this will also assist in the restoration of the masonry on the building facades.
As part of the masonry work, there needs to be protection from the elements and cold weather. The tarps on the scaffolding provide that protection, as well as enclosing the scaffolding for various other reasons. This is typical on most construction sites, as you have seen most recently on West Block, and can presently see on East Block, where it is enclosed with white tarps for the duration of the rehabilitation.
The white tarping tends to be quite obvious and somewhat unattractive, especially in such an iconic location as Parliament Hill. What has become more common around the world, to enhance the visitor experience and general image of iconic heritage buildings while undergoing construction, is to print images of the hidden building on the tarp—essentially a trompe l'oeil, an optical illusion of sorts. It provides the continuity of experiencing the sense of place with a replica of the building facade.
The working group was presented with three approaches to Centre Block in this respect. First was to colour the tarps on all four facades to match the colour of existing stone, if you will—a sand colour. You can see it in the upper right-hand corner of the slide. A second option was a front facade trompe l'oeil over the south facade facing Wellington Street and all of the other three walls in the stone sand colour. Finally, a third option was a trompe l'oeil on all four facades.
The working group deliberated on the merits of all three options. We also received letters from mayors of Ottawa and Gatineau and the National Capital Commission strongly encouraging Parliament to support a trompe l'oeil on all four facades in order to maintain a positive visitor experience.
We believe that a responsible approach is to recommend that all facades receive the trompe l'oeil images of Centre Block.
The tarps will be used for the full duration of the project and are estimated by PSPC to cost in the neighbourhood of $3.8 million. This will preserve the iconic image of Centre Block for all who visit, both for Ottawa and Gatineau, and enhance the tourist experience of Parliament over the course of its rehabilitation.
In June 2019, parliamentarians endorsed the approach to construct hoarding on the Hill for the renovation of the Parliament Building. The proposal comprised panels with large monochromatic photos interspersed with interpretive panels and wayfinding to be installed across the parliamentary lawn. Once the interpretive content was developed, it was expected that PSPC would return to seek final approval on the panels.
The working group was presented with fully developed detailed information for the bilingual interpretive panels, as well as images. The panels will convey information under the following themes: Parliamentary theme; centre block rehabilitation theme; Parliament Hill timeline and gathering place theme; indigenous theme; wayfinding theme.
With the exception of the indigenous-themed panels, which still require wider consultation, the WG supports the approval of the other panels, which we believe are appropriate and informative. A full-scale mock-up of the panels is currently on site to allow for review. We recommend that the board endorse the construction hoarding panel proposal so that PSPC can proceed to make and install the interpretive hoarding this summer.
PSPC also presented its approach to public engagement for the Centre Block project and the LTVP. The WG reviewed the detailed information provided and recommends that the board endorse the proposed public survey and plan that PSPC has developed.
At our meeting of March 12, we were provided with a progress update on the entrance sequence design for the Parliament welcome centre. The members of the independent design review panel attended to advise and answer questions. The working group fully supported the direction of the design and made note of the areas for further development. The working group is pleased with the progress and excited about the design concepts we have seen.
Further to the meeting, the working group has agreed that consultation with the Senate would be appropriate on the proposed Centre Block infill options. A joint meeting of the House of Commons working group and the Senate LTVP subcommittee took place on April 7, 2021, during which we had a fulsome discussion on the potential infill above the Hall of Honour. The glazed roof enclosure of the light court above that Hall of Honour provides an opportunity to create new space above the Hall of Honour on three floors. The enclosed light court will also assist in achieving project goals on sustainability and accessibility. There was general consensus for the new space on the sixth-floor level of that infill to be used for shared parliamentarian space.
On May 28 we met a second time with the Senate LTVP to consider food services and the placement of the cafeteria, as well as a potential café for the public in the Parliament welcome centre. We also discussed the possible uses of the fourth and fifth floor of the infill. We agreed to continue these discussions at our next joint meeting, where we will look at more detailed schematic designs for each of the fourth and fifth floors.
The working group has been very engaged in a detailed review of the issues and proposed schematic design approach for Centre Block and the new welcome centre. As you can see by the slides, the progress around the excavation continues in a fulsome way. We continue to be confident that parliamentarians' requirements are being taken into consideration. We are being kept abreast of issues and site construction work. We are very pleased with the progress and the opportunity to be involved in this project. The working group anticipates another meeting later this month. I will return to provide another update, as appropriate.
One further item to update you on is the progress on the Block 2 architectural design competition. Block 2, you will remember, is situated just across from the main lawn of the Commons, across Wellington, essentially between Metcalfe on one end and O'Connor on the other, and bordered by Sparks Street and Wellington.
As you may remember, I was tasked with representing the House of Commons as part of the parliamentary portion of the competition jury. I am joined by Mr. MacKinnon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, and also Senator Plett, who represents the Senate of Canada. All of us are parliamentary jurors. Recent activities included closing the PSPC request for qualifications on this project on March 2, 2021, with 38 respondents submitting their candidacy to be considered for the Block 2 competition.
The competitors are world-class design firms, including a diverse range of Canadian firms and other consortiums from around the world. From the 38 submissions, PSPC narrowed the participants down to 12, and that's based on the competition criteria. An announcement on the 12 successful competitors will be forthcoming, likely later this month.
The first jury colloquium was held virtually on April 16, and I had the pleasure of meeting the other 26 jurors. I'm impressed with the diversity and calibre of the jurors. This is a very accomplished group of professionals with a range of design and technical expertise. The objective of the first colloquium was to meet and understand the procedure and rules of the competition and the role of the jury, to elect a jury chair, and to review and endorse the competition brief.
The chair is Bruce Haden, an architect and urban designer from Vancouver, nominated by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and supported by the jury. The vice-chair is Anne McIlroy, an architect and urban designer from Toronto.
The competition brief is the central document that will be provided to the 12 proponents, and it is, essentially, a complete and thorough description of the project and our expectations for the design. It describes the site, the constraints and opportunities, and most importantly, the requirements. The jury chair has been actively working with PSPC, and the jury and will be endorsing the final edits to that competition brief. I understand that part has now been completed. The final version will be out to the 12 selected competitors in due course.
The next step for the jury will be a three-day workshop in September this year, when we will evaluate the design concepts submitted by the 12 participating competitors. The jury will be supported by a team of technical experts, including from the House of Commons administration. Of those 12, the jury will choose six short-listed participants who will proceed to stage two of the competition.
The final design proposals for stage 2 are expected in spring 2022. Thank you.
I am happy to take questions or elaborate on any of the information provided.