PM says 24 Sussex Drive in 'terrible condition,' has no plans to live there
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says 24 Sussex Drive, the official residence of Canada’s prime minister, is in “terrible condition” and he and his family have no plans to move in during his time in office.
Trudeau was asked about the state of the 154-year-old residence, which has sat vacant since he was elected in 2015, during an affordable housing announcement on Friday.
“We know that 24 Sussex has been neglected by many generations of politicians and prime ministers over the years. Unfortunately, it’s in terrible condition. This is a historic building, it’s important, but we also have concerns about its safety,” he said, speaking in French.
“I have no intention of living in 24 Sussex regardless of how long my mandate or mandates may be as prime minister.”
He added that the government is in consultations about the fate of the building.
“We are assessing our options and when we arrive at a decision, we will share it,” he said.
In a spring 2021 report, the National Capital Commission (NCC), which oversees the property and other official residences located in the National Capital Region, said it would cost at least $36.6 million to properly restore 24 Sussex.
“The official residences reflect the nation to Canadians and to foreign visitors, so they must be maintained at a level that reflects the importance of the role of the residents. However, funding for Official Residences has been so constrained in the last several decades that properties such as 24 Sussex no longer reflect even this basic standard,” reads the report.
The NCC states that the age and condition of the electrical system “poses a fire hazard” and the plumbing system experiences regular failures. There is no air conditioning system, instead window units run in the summer “which poses a security risk.”
“Repairs and/or upgrades are complicated due to the presence of asbestos, lead and mould throughout many of the interior finishes,” it reads.
For all six homes, the NCC says it requires $17.5 million per year for 10 years to make sure they don’t slide further into disrepair. On top of that, the NCC says $26.1 million a year is needed for ongoing maintenance, repairs and renovation projects.
“This increase in annual appropriations, coupled with the one-time injection of $17.5M per year over 10 years, would provide a sustainable source of funding that would enable the NCC to comply with its legislative mandate to conserve the built heritage of national interest under the NCC’s stewardship,” the report reads.
Trudeau and his family currently reside at Rideau Cottage on the grounds of Rideau Hall, the officials residence of the governors general.