Perhaps Stephen Harper refused to surrender the keys to 24 Sussex Drive because he knew what was coming.

The mother of all home reconstructions with jaw-dropping sticker shock is being considered for the prime minister’s official residence.

And while all Justin Trudeau did was get out of the way to let the long-overdue retrofit take place, there’s a risk his reputation will wear the renovations.

After all, his father’s addition of a Sussex swimming pool, surely a perk worthy of the office, generated controversy as an extravagance.

So what to do about a house that lacks architectural flair, deep historical significance and, given last year’s $272,000 heating and hydro bill, clearly needs a lot more insulation and a better furnace?

Well, there’s no financial logic to a major gutting given the auditor general’s restoration estimate has quadrupled to $38 million in just six years, which is four times the property’s assessed value.

This house should not be a 35-room fixer-upper to illustrate the Liberal’s commitment to general contractor job creation.

It’s a demolition project, crying out for a bulldozer.

The only alternative is to strong arm the British into surrendering their High Commissioner’s residence as a worthy replacement.

Just a few hundred metres up the road, the majestic historic Earnscliffe mansion is where Sir John A Macdonald lived and died.

But to take even the lowest bid so far, a guesstimate which will surely double or more, would render 24 Sussex a national symbol of bureaucratic bloat and contractor padding.

There’s no blame on Prime Minister Trudeau for this. A mysterious force called the National Capital Commission will ultimately make the call.

But anyone who has been inside this howling wind tunnel, built by a lumberman as a wedding gift to his wife in 1868, knows this is a once-in-a-hundred-year residential reset opportunity which should be seized with sledgehammering enthusiasm.

Its only claim to fame is to have housed prime ministers for 65 years on a spectacular piece of river-view real estate.

It may be Canada’s most famous address. But it’s an historic address in need of a new house.

That’s the Last Word.