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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Welcome to the 12th meeting of the Board of Internal Economy of the 44th legislature.
We'll start off with the minutes of the previous meeting. Are there any questions or comments?
Mr. Brassard, you have the floor.
View John Brassard Profile
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
When I took over as opposition House leader, I made a commitment to my staff that I would read through the Standing Orders. I'm sad to say that I'm only halfway through, Mr. Chair.
It says in the minutes that, concerning the report to Canadians, it would be tabled in accordance with the Standing Orders. I did a search, and I couldn't find which standing order requires it. I would like clarification from the clerk as to which standing order that is.
Eric Janse
View Eric Janse Profile
Eric Janse
2022-06-23 11:10
It must be a mistake in the minutes. It's not the report to Canadians that's required to be tabled via the Standing Orders; it's the report on committees, the liaison committee report.
View John Brassard Profile
Perhaps that needs to be clarified, then.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John Brassard Profile
Yes, thank you.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are there any other comments on the minutes of the previous meeting?
Since no one has any questions or comments, let us move on to the second item, business arising from the previous meeting.
Is there anything that we want to bring up?
Everything is clear? Perfect.
Now we'll go to number three.
The third item is the LTVP working group.
The presenters this morning will be Mr. Chris d'Entremont, who is the chair of the working group on the LTVP and the Centre Block rehabilitation; Mr. Rob Wright, assistant deputy minister, science and parliamentary infrastructure branch, Public Services and Procurement Canada; and Darrell de Grandmont, director of the Centre Block program.
Who will be presenting?
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. d'Entremont, you have the floor.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
It's great to see everyone. I was starting to think that I was the jinxed presentation that keeps us from doing our work, and I thought I'd maybe have to come back in September to do this, so it's great to be able to present.
As chair of the House of Commons long-term vision and plan working group, I am here to update the board on our recent activities, including some items brought for our joint meeting with the Senate’s LTVP subcommittee.
At our joint meeting with the Senate on May 28, 2021, we reviewed the food services proposed for the Centre Block and the infill options proposed for the central courtyard. We reconvened on March 25, 2022, to discuss underground network connections. Most recently, on May 6, 2022, the House of Commons LTVP working group received an update from former parliamentarian Bruce Stanton, chair of the block 2 design competition, and an update on the proposed public café in the Parliament welcome centre. Then again on Friday, we were able to have a discussion on a number of items. I will finish off my discussion with that.
I will brief you on these in a little more detail to seek endorsement of the board on recommended direction.
First I'll start with the Centre Block food services.
At the joint meeting, the House of Commons Administration presented an overview of the proposed range of food services to be offered in the Centre Block and the Parliament Welcome Centre. It also indicated their proposed locations.
The five types of food service identified for the Centre Block and the Parliament Welcome Centre are: the parliamentary dining room, which will return to its historical location on level six of the Centre Block; a cafeteria, located on the B2 level of the PWC; a public café, located on the B1 level of the PWC; parliamentary venue service to be located in the lobbies, committee rooms, speaker's suites, the proposed lounges on the Level 6, and so forth; and vending machines, with a minimum of one per building.
The House of Commons Administration was asked to answer a number of questions. In particular, it was asked for more detailed information on the rationale behind the proposed seating capacity of 50 at the new public café. It was also asked to ensure that the café is centrally located and easily accessible within the PWC for members of the public.
I believe the map or the drawing is in front of you.
The House administration returned to the LTVP working group last month, on May 6, with an update. The public café is now more centrally located near the entry hall of the PWC and includes an increased and flexible seating capacity of 89 seats. The working group concluded that this aligns favourably with international parliamentary trends and would be a welcome service addition to the facility and its users. The working group is satisfied with the proposal.
As you come in through the security section, the café will be sitting off to the right-hand side. Those folks who don't want to bring coffee inside or who are waiting for a tour can hang off to the side and grab a coffee or a quick sandwich if they need to.
The working group is recommending approval by the board for the proposed locations of the food services in the Centre Block and the parliamentary welcome centre, including the new public café capacity.
I will now turn to the central courtyard infill options.
At the joint meeting, the Senate and House of Commons administrations presented three options for allocating space on levels four and five between the Senate and the House of Commons. These options pertained to the central courtyard infill levels above the Hall of Honour. The space on the sixth floor was proposed as a shared parliamentary lounge, which was endorsed by the House of Commons LTVP working group and the Senate's LTVP subcommittee.
Three options were proposed for the new space in the infill on levels four and five. Both the working group and the Senate LTVP subcommittee felt that further discussion on the proposed options for the fourth and fifth floor infills is required to achieve consensus. We will return to the board with a recommendation once that has progressed.
Third, we have the underground network connections.
At the March 25, 2022 joint meeting, PSPC and the House of Commons administration presented a high-level overview of a network of underground connections that will ensure safe and efficient movement of accredited people and goods to support operations in the precinct.
The objective is to link the parliamentary buildings, including parliamentary office units, or POUs, and committee rooms in the blocks on the south side of Wellington Street. This would then include the introduction of underground tunnels to connect across under Wellington Street from north to south. A tunnel network will have multiple elements; efficient operations for the business of Parliament; access/egress redundancy; and linking buildings to the chamber. Security for parliamentarians is important, and assessing strategic entry connection points will be a key consideration.
Five tunnel options were presented. All options ran north-south in connecting building blocks south of Wellington to the parliamentary triad north of Wellington. The joint working group supported the concept of a multi-use, single-level secure tunnel system to be shared by all partners. The tunnels should be as direct as possible from POUs to both chambers, minimizing level changes, corridors, complicated circulation paths and the number of elevators and staircases.
Based on the operational information and advice received from the Senate and House of Commons administrations and PSPC, complete with an options analysis summary, the Senate LTVP subcommittee and the House of Commons LTVP working group agreed to recommend for approval to our respective boards the tunnel connections “W” and “D”, which create a “loop”, as the north-south alignment, which would be part of the overall material handling and underground network concept. I think the map is up there. As you can see for the “W” and “D”, it makes a big circle around the precinct so that you can get in and out.
Finally, we have block 2 and the architectural design competition.
With Centre Block, the renewal of block 2 is a critical piece of Public Works and Procurement Canada's long-term vision and plan for the parliamentary precinct. Following the last update on block 2 to the BOIE in May 2021, stage 1 of the architectural design competition was finalized in September 2021, with a short list of six proposals recommended to proceed to stage 2.
The six short-listed competitors submitted their proposals to PSPC in March of this year. On April 11, 2022, the teams presented their design concept to the public online. As you may recall, my predecessor, Bruce Stanton, along with Senator Robert Black and MP Anthony Housefather, was delegated to represent the parliamentary portion on the jury for stage 2. The jury met over a three-day period—April 20, 21 and 22—to review the submissions and recommended the winner as well as the second- and third-place finalists, so if one doesn't work, you can always go to the second and then to the third if that's possible.
On May 16, Zeidler Architecture Inc. in Toronto, in association with David Chipperfield Architects of London, U.K., was named the winner of the architectural design competition for block 2. NEUF Architects here in Ottawa, in a joint venture with Renzo Piano Building Workshop from Paris, is the second-place finalist in the architectural design competition for block 2. Watson MacEwen Teramura Architects here in Ottawa, in a joint venture with Behnisch Architekten in Boston, is the third-place finalist in the architectural design competition for block 2.
The next steps for the block 2 project have started, with Public Works working on the contract with the winning team with the aim of onboarding them in the fall of 2022—this fall—and into the spring of 2023. The goal is to start construction on block 2 approximately 24 months from the signing of the contract with the winning team. In parallel, Public Works will continue to work with representatives of the House of Commons and parliamentary partners on a more developed building and functional program. The working group will return to the board with updates and seek the endorsement of the House of Commons when it's appropriate.
Lastly, the working group met late last week for discussions on the strategy proposed for the parliamentary office units, POUs, for Centre Block. We have a fairly good understanding of the strategy and will come back to brief the board and make a recommendation as the design progresses with more detail. There was also a presentation by PSPC on their efforts on indigenous engagement with respect to the Centre Block and in the wider context of the LTVP. We feel that PSPC has approached this thoughtfully and it will have a more important contribution that will continue to evolve throughout the implementation.
We hope to come back to BOIE with any details that you may be interested in.
Thank you. I'm happy to take the questions or share the questions with my partner in crime here, Rob Wright, or maybe with Michel, depending on what the questions may be on our proposal. There are a couple of recommendations in here that we need approval on.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Very good.
Are there any questions or comments?
We'll start with Mr. Julian and then go over to Mr. Brassard.
View Peter Julian Profile
Thank you to the LTVP working group. I know what an incredible amount of work this is, having been briefly involved before you passed on the torch. Our big thanks for all of the work that you've done, that you're doing and that you will do in the future.
I am particularly interested in the tunnel options. When any of us visit other Parliaments—the U.S. Congress, the European Parliament—all of them, within their parliamentary, legislative or capital precinct, have a tunnel network. It's for simple reasons. It's a question of effectiveness and efficiency.
We have the coldest national capital on earth. What happens in winter time, and what certainly has happened since I've been on the Hill—particularly when you have visitors—is that you go through this process of getting your coat, hat and everything else on, leaving your office building, going across the street, taking everything out, going through another security screen and finally getting into the area where you're actually going.
Sometimes, if there are committee hearings, that can be multiplied many times during the course of a day. It has never been efficient, to my mind. People are dressing and undressing—taking off coats, mitts and everything else—many times a day, and it seems to me that having a tunnel network will make a big difference in terms of making us more efficient so we can spend more of the time that matters helping our constituents and being engaged in the national debates that are so important.
When I look at the tunnel plan, I understand the recommendation is “W” and “D” to form that circuit that would go East Block, Centre Block, West Block and then through to Wellington and through to block 2 and block 1. I think that is, practically speaking, an excellent catch-up for Canada's national capital being on par with other world capitals in allowing people to move from one building to the next.
I have two questions.
Are there any provisions in terms of the tunnels—or has that discussion happened yet—around security screening from one to the next? When we're taking visitors through, for example, this is something that will save an enormous amount of time, but I would be interested in knowing what security screening, if any, is contemplated.
Second, we have two office blocks, the Confederation Building and the Justice Building, that have 10 feet between the two of them and then it's only about 100 feet from the Confederation block to Wellington, but I don't see provision for a tunnel network that would join them. It seems to me that's a relatively easy thing to do because of the short distances involved, but it would also add to the efficiency—if we have dozens of office suites in those two buildings—to allow members of Parliament and their visitors to move seamlessly through the West Block to the Centre Block.
Is that contemplated? I see a material handling node, but is there a possibility of extending the tunnel network to incorporate those last two buildings as well?
Thank you for your work.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
First of all, I'll start off by saying that this is an elephant of a project. We have to take it on one bite at a time. We can only go so far.
It is contemplated to continue to the other two buildings, which are of course Confederation and Justice, but again, we need to get a few things built first and that's why the “W” and the “D” are first on our proposal.
Maybe I'll let Rob take on the security screening side of it. Just to that last point, it is contemplated but I just don't know where it will fit in the time frame.
Rob Wright
View Rob Wright Profile
Rob Wright
2022-06-23 11:26
Thank you very much for the question, Mr. Chair.
To the point about security—and we'll be working very closely with the security partners on this—the concept is that it would be credentialed individuals who would be able to move through the tunnel. That would involve some type of system of secure access to the tunnels. Those details, which are very important, have not been worked out yet, but that is exactly the plan.
To the Deputy Speaker's point on the question of a connection to Confed/Justice, that is the plan. This loop concept and tunnel W could provide the opportunity to have a direct contact into tunnel W from Confed/Justice. That's one of the benefits of that, as well as its making use of already built infrastructure that we had as part of the West Block and the visitor welcome centre phase one.
The other option you mentioned.... Connecting to the Wellington Street tunnel and then making your way from there is another option. We'll be going through that option assessment. It would probably make sense for that to be a secondary step that we would do in conjunction with the rehabilitation of the Confederation Building.
Those decisions haven't been taken at this point.
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