Government says premier’s office reno is necessary

James
James McLeod
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Opposition parties question expenditure

The front facade of the Confederation Building on Prince Philip Drive in St. John’s, shown in March 2011, continues to undergo renovations.
— File photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Confederation Building has been buzzing with rumours for days that Premier Kathy Dunderdale is moving her office so the government can renovate the premier’s suite of offices on the eighth floor, but the government is saying don’t believe the rumours.

Transportation and Works Minister Paul Davis said despite accusations from the Liberals, the work being done on the eighth floor isn’t “cosmetic,” but critical to keeping the building from falling down around them.

But the Opposition Liberals are saying that at a time when the government is talking about budget cuts and layoffs, it smacks of a double standard to hear that the premier’s office will be renovated.

Dunderdale said if anybody thinks she’s just getting cosmetic upgrades done to her office, they should come up and see the state of the place.

“You really should come into the premier’s office when we have a rainstorm, because you have to manoeuvre your way through buckets because there’s rain coming in everywhere,” Dunderdale told reporters in Corner Brook.

Dunderdale said for the past few years the government has been replacing the windows of Confederation Building, and the last part to be completed is the central tower, which houses her office.

“There’s been no renovations approved for the premier’s office other than the same ones that have been done to their offices and every other office in East Block,” Dunderdale said.

But when windows were being replaced in other parts of the building, staff weren’t relocated to new offices during construction.

Davis said the work that will be happening on the eighth, ninth and tenth floors will be a bit more extensive than other parts of Confederation Building, but it’s absolutely necessary.

He said while workers have the building under construction, they’re going do some more serious work.

“The scaffolding is going to be wrapped right around the tower, and it’ll be completely closed in,” he said. “What’s also going to happen while the scaffolding is up there is that there’s electrical and mechanical work to be done.”

Davis said the electrical wiring is old, and a lot of the ventilation system needs to be replaced, and the best time to do that is while the construction on the windows is happening.

He wouldn’t give The Telegram an estimate of how much the work will cost, until the government gets tenders done, and then workers start the renovations.

“Until we actually get into the tender process, we won’t know what the amount is,” he said. “You’ve got to get in and start hauling stuff out to have a look at the scope of the work that needs to be done.”

Liberal MHA Andrew Parsons said he wants more information on what’s going on.

“We need to know what these renovations entail, and to me, if they’re not necessary then they should not be going ahead,” he said.

“Actions speak louder than words here. The premier is preaching fiscal prudence, but at the same time doesn’t apply it to herself. We’ve got renovations going on upstairs, we’ve got senior positions being created and filled, six-figure salaries being handed out.”

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: The Telegram

Geographic location: Corner Brook, East Block

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Recent comments

  • Robert
    February 21, 2013 - 08:35

    I have never voted on Party lines; I vote for the person who presents him/herself as someone who is interested in making a difference. I may not even agree with the person on important issues. But lately I have been very disappointed with both the NDP and Liberals. There are far more important issues that need debate then someone/anyone getting a new office. I do recall something about $700. door knobs a few years back and I can't recall what party showed poor judgement........do you? If either of these parties are serious about forming the next government perhaps it is time one of them got serious about real issues.

  • Leah
    February 21, 2013 - 08:08

    What have we got for a Premier? She's beyond two-faced. She certainly gives true meaning to the saying, Do as I say, not do as I do. WE, the Taxpayers, are paying her salary, and the whole dam works, yet, got to put up with her abuse and insensitivity and ignorance and rudeness and outrageous arrogance regularly. The absolute gall of her! What a nerve to come out with this announcement at this particular time. The last sentence in this article speaks for itself. The costly renovations should not be made to Dunderdale's specifications because someone else will be enjoying them after the next election.

  • Lilly
    February 21, 2013 - 07:49

    Our Debt is getting bigger and she gets a new office?? sounds a little Marie Antoinette to me!

    • Terrence Peddle
      February 21, 2013 - 08:03

      come on whats more important the debt or the reno,,,,wants to get debt under control but still can spend millions on reno to office something not right

  • Happily Retired
    February 21, 2013 - 07:49

    "Let them eat cake." This is only the tip of the iceberg. Somebody should have a look at the money being spent on new office furniture. Every time one of these new "appointments" come in. They get an office full of new furniture. The old stuff is thrown out, or put into "storage."

    • Window Dresser
      February 21, 2013 - 08:18

      And, it's likely bought outside the province and imported; no need to support local furniture suppliers; unless of course, they're good Tory donors.

  • Jim
    February 21, 2013 - 07:49

    The work on the Confederation Building has been going on for a couple of years. The area where the Premier's office is is one of the last areas being done. i was at a dinner two years ago where I sat with the Premier and she spoke of the renovations then and how her office windows were leaking. She said at that time that her area would be one of the last areas to be done. The money for these renovations was allocated in previous budgets and are a lot less costly than what it would cost to replace the building. I would assume every office in the building on an outside wall is being refurbished as the repairs are done outside. This would mean that all MHA's offices including those for the opposition will be renovated also.

  • John doe
    February 21, 2013 - 07:24

    Blunderdale and her Gov't needs to be taken down NOW before all the money in the Provincial Bank Accounts is spent. Time for People to wake up and protest.

  • Dale Olfstadt
    February 21, 2013 - 07:23

    I'm sure Dictator Dan operated in an absolute pig-sty and renos are warranted. Put it behind all the others on NL Housing repair list and it should get done sometime in this decade.

  • Stryker
    February 21, 2013 - 07:17

    At a time when this government is so concerned about fiscal restraint and ballooning deficits, this seemingly does not apply to any of them. They don't have any problem with handing out six figure salaries, going on cabinet retreats, or doing major renovations. If the province's finances are so bad as what they say it is, why don't they start with budget cuts to their own salaries and perks, they should practice what they preach, I can see another ABC campaign on the horizon in a couple of years.

  • Steve
    February 21, 2013 - 07:13

    Premier says her office needs renos because it leaks when it rains. Shouldn't that mean the roof needs to be repaired? Repair the roof sure. Reno her office? Not on our buck.

  • Sharon Montgomery
    February 21, 2013 - 07:12

    Of course reno is necessary; the doorways have to be widened and the ceilings heightened to allow for the swollen heads and big egos. Don't get too compfy in your new digs though, you'll only occupy them for two more years.

  • Pete
    February 21, 2013 - 06:36

    Andrew Parsosns is usually sensible but now he's just comparing to complain. It's ridiculous to just completely stop renovations part way through.