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Results: 1 - 15 of 382
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mark Strahl Profile
2019-06-13 12:06
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Just briefly, I note there is a mention of pairing. We didn't wish to talk about pairing.
I should actually read from the minutes. I'm going by memory here.
I just want to make clear that it was an informal discussion. I certainly did not wish to indicate with my remarks that any changes to the pairing system should be made. I don't know if that's indicated in the minutes.
I want to clarify that I was not asking for this board or PROC, or anyone else, to study the issue of pairing now or in the future. That would be a discussion for the whips, perhaps.
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View Judy A. Sgro Profile
Lib. (ON)
Yes, Mr. Chair, I will. Thank you very much.
Today I'm joined by my colleague Kelly Block, as well as Peter Julian, who is also a representative on this working group.
For your background information, the working group met on June 4 and June 11 to review the proposed governance structure and initiate engagement on the Centre Block rehabilitation project. The House of Commons administration provided an overview of the long-term vision project, or LTVP, and background on consultations and approvals to date.
The working group discussed the governance structure and agreed on the mandate. The working group was formed as requested by the BOIE with a view to provide engagement with members on requirements and oversight on the Centre Block project and LTVP. The working group will report to the board to provide updates on the rehabilitation project and make recommendations as required. The working group will help guide and inform consultations and engagement with members and stakeholders.
For the development and implementation of the LTVP, guiding principles that we will work under were developed at various milestones. We reviewed those established principles and we propose an updated set of guiding principles that are appropriate for Parliament with regard to the Centre Block rehabilitation. We would seek BOIE's endorsement of the following principles.
Centre Block’s primary purpose is to accommodate the two Houses of Parliament. It is first and foremost a workplace for parliamentarians, and the design and operational requirements of the building must take those needs into consideration.
The Centre Block rehabilitation—
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View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mark Strahl Profile
2019-06-13 12:09
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I don't have that in front of me. I trust what Ms. Sgro is saying is correct, but I would like to read it at the same time.
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View Judy A. Sgro Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Judy A. Sgro Profile
Lib. (ON)
My understanding was that you had received a fair amount of information on this project already.
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View Judy A. Sgro Profile
Lib. (ON)
The Centre Block rehabilitation project will aim to enhance the operations of Parliament from a functional and technological standpoint to ensure that the infrastructure continues to meet evolving requirements for the proper functioning of Parliament.
The CB rehabilitation project will work to ensure public participation in the work of Parliament, with continued access to chamber proceedings, question period and committee work, as well as to enhance and expand opportunities for public outreach by creating spaces that complement the historic building.
The CB rehabilitation project will explore options for universal accessibility and interconnectivity between buildings on the parliamentary campus via an underground tunnel system and supporting infrastructure.
The CB rehabilitation project will continue to create a balance of accessibility to Parliament and a secure environment.
The CB rehabilitation project will strive to restore the significant heritage fabric of the building as originally designed and built, and to update all engineering and life-saving systems to comply with contemporary expectations of wellness, safety, sustainability and universal accessibility in support of parliamentary functions.
Decisions regarding the future of Centre Block will be guided by the principles of fiscal responsibility and the conscientious use of resources, while taking into account the value placed on restoring historical heritage spaces.
At our working group's initial meeting, we were provided with an overview of the project plan and the roles of the various stakeholders. This complex project is being delivered following a fast-track methodology consisting of many overlapping activities. In this process, early decisions need to be made while requirements are still being developed. This risk is managed through a process of layered decisions that allow flexibility.
Going forward, we will be looking at detailed requirements for key functions in Centre Block and the visitor welcome centre complex to ensure that building functions reflect the operations of Parliament and the members' needs in our workplace.
In terms of immediate activities for Centre Block and the visitor welcome centre, it has been determined that there are two items that require endorsement at this time: the excavation contracting strategy for the visitor welcome centre and the construction hoarding. The working group has reviewed the options and brings forward our suggestions for the BOIE's consideration.
The visitor welcome centre requirement, or VWCC, was established in the 1999 document “Building the Future”. The concept was established and approved by the BOIE, COIE and cabinet in 2006 and reconfirmed in 2009 and 2011. Requirements for the VWCC phase 2 are still under development and will require the working group's validation and further BOIE approval. To ensure that the CB project maintains momentum, an early decision on the excavation contracting strategy is required.
The working group was presented with three options for the excavation strategy for phase 2 of the proposed visitor welcome centre. All options considered the following implications: security, visitor experience, parliamentary functional requirements and cost.
While it was clear to us that excavation is required to accommodate base building requirements, we were of the view that other expressed requirements should be assessed and decided upon after the election.
Accordingly, the working group recommends going forward with the excavation contracting strategy for phase 2 of the visitor welcome centre that includes the baseline of a 22,000-square-metre NET underground expansion of Centre Block, with options that allow for the contract to be scaled down or up depending on decisions with respect to allow actual requirements beyond machinery and equipment.
The second item is the construction hoarding. This site plan indicates roughly the maximum area for the construction site, which includes the Centre Block; the anticipated approximation of where the VWCC will require excavation; and room for construction trailers, material laydown and heavy equipment mobility. The black line indicates the approximate location proposed for the construction hoarding, leaving approximately half the front lawn for public access and for activities to continue throughout the project implementation.
Installation of the construction hoarding is planned to start in the fall of 2019.
The working group was presented with three hoarding options for consideration.
The working group recommendation is a hoarding design that reflects the architecture of Centre Block, displaying images and interpretive text about the project and Parliament for visitors. This would be maintained over the lifespan of the rehabilitation project.
This option provides a cost-effective fencing for the construction site and a visitor experience while the Centre Block is rehabilitated.
The recommendations before you today from our working group are, first, to proceed with the excavation contracting strategy for phase 2 of the visitor welcome centre that includes the baseline of a 22,000-square-metre NET underground expansion of Centre Block, with options that allow for the contract to be scalable down or up, depending on decisions with respect to actual requirements.
The working group also recommends proceeding with hoarding on the front lawn with large monochromatic photos or illustrative drawings on the front face and with ornamental black fencing for the remainder of the perimeter.
Joining me and Ms. Block at the table here today are some of the appropriate people from the various departments working on this project.
Ms. Block, do you have anything you want to add?
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View Kelly Block Profile
CPC (SK)
No, just that if there are any questions, I think we'd be happy to answer them.
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View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mark Strahl Profile
2019-06-13 12:16
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This is going to be a bit of a work in progress as we figure out.... We don't want to duplicate your work. You've obviously been assigned to these tasks to represent all of our interests.
Obviously, decisions were made previously regarding the new visitor welcome centre. I wasn't a part of those boards and I haven't seen those documents. I don't know how close to scale the site plan is and I imagine it's not designed to be that way, so could you perhaps explain something for my benefit?
The current visitor and parliamentary business entrance obviously deals only with the House side at this time. However, it looks as if that is.... What is the current footprint of the temporary, if we want to call it that, visitor welcome centre? What additional functions will it be performing to merit 22,000 square metres, up or down, inside? I should have been paying more attention to the fact that this one downstairs here was a temporary structure, and the new one looks quite a lot larger than what we have now.
Explain it to me very quickly. Is there more under there than just the welcome centre, and that's just what it's being called? Do we really need something that's 10 times bigger than what we have now?
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View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
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.
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View Kelly Block Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I appreciate your question, and it probably raises for me other questions I have about our role as a working group. I don't think it's for us to determine or suggest the decisions that this board needs to take on this question, but I wanted to concur with what my colleague has presented to you in regard to the things we deliberated on. I would just add that the option we are favouring is the second of three. There was an option to go with a smaller square footage, and also a larger one. We took the middle-of-the-road approach, knowing that there was the scalability that my colleague commented on.
I would also like to put on the record that I personally leaned heavily toward supporting the recommendation coming forward on what had been done by previous boards in regard to establishing this concept of a visitor welcome centre. I did not feel, as a member of a working group that's here to provide suggestions to decision-making bodies, that I would be willing to undo the work that had been done over the previous 20 years.
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View Judy A. Sgro Profile
Lib. (ON)
I understand the rationale from departmental officials as to why it's important to move forward with the recommendations that we have before you today: in order not to lose time, and so on and so forth. It leaves us with post-election opportunities to reflect on ups and downs and so on.
Certainly I would like to see clarification on the roles and expectations for the three of us, who are representing different parties. I don't want to receive a complicated document and be asked for a decision in 48 hours and then go to you with a recommendation that we really haven't had time to be fully engaged in.
I love the suggestion. As Ms. Bergen said, these are the kinds of ideas that we thought we may be dealing with. We did not expect, with a limited amount of time, to be coming to you with recommendations to this extent.
I think we all understood why we needed to go forward today in a short period of time, but I certainly would appreciate some clarification of the role of the working group in the future and the board's expectations of us.
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View Kelly Block Profile
CPC (SK)
Thank you very much.
I might go a step further than my colleague in describing some of the angst we probably felt in the last couple of meetings we've had. I do, at the front end, want to say that I have fully appreciated being brought in and being given the level of detail that we were provided. I think that there's a great group of people here working on this project, so we've relied heavily on, as I said, their expertise, as well as what's been done historically.
I would very respectfully suggest that if there is a standing committee that is made up of members from all parties who believe that perhaps they have a role to play in this process, and then there's a working group with three members representing all parties, it feels a little duplicative to me to have us meeting with these folks to sort of get our initial responses to some of these things and then bring that back to you. I'm questioning whether or not we have a layer here that is perhaps not necessary if we have a standing committee like PROC and then, of course, the BOIE, which ultimately is going to be the one making the decisions and which has great representation from every party on it already.
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View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mark Strahl Profile
2019-06-13 12:49
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It's very difficult. I guess I know one of the members who was on the BOIE 20 years ago when this was approved, but of course it was all in camera, so we can't discuss any of it.
I have the benefit of sitting beside Mr. Julian here, and clearly this group has been given the financials and the implications. It was not the intention to have people here who.... In the case of Ms. Block, she is a shadow minister, a key member of our shadow cabinet. She's a respected senior member of our caucus, so we put her in there. We didn't put her in there so that she would be making multi-million-dollar suggestions that would put her under an additional amount of pressure because this was suddenly part of her mandate. I don't think we would have wished that upon her. We would have chosen someone we liked much less than Ms. Block, if that were the case.
Voices: Oh, oh!
Mr. Mark Strahl: Therefore, I think on this one, I understand the need to.... I think this probably should have come to the board directly. I think this probably shouldn't have been something that the working group was assigned to. As we're working through this, we're probably going to find these things, but I don't expect that this is the role of the working group.
The tough part is that there is already scaffolding up on the building, so we're going to have much input at this time. However, those of us who sit on this body are ultimately seen to be accountable, regardless of whether the decisions were made by relatives of ours or not in the past.
At any rate, this is the last meeting we have. Obviously, it isn't something that they will be seized with over the summer, so we can revisit it again. I don't think we have a problem saying that they need to start digging. If that's what the decision was, yes, they do.
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View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mark Strahl Profile
2019-06-13 12:52
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If it is necessary for the project to dig 10,000 square metres in front of the Centre Block, then since we're not engineers and we're not architects and we're well down the path here, that is not a decision we need to make. That needs to happen. If they need to come to us for a decision in the future on whether it needs to be 27,000 square metres or 10,000 square metres, that's fine. I don't know why we're even talking about this issue.
I guess what I'm saying is that if you need to put the services in there for 10,000 square metres, then I don't know why it's coming back to us. That needs to happen. Go for it in that regard. I don't know why we need to even talk about the other phases at this point.
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