News / Ottawa

Wrap of Ottawa building under construction cost federal government $555K

Though there are costs attached to being the capital, expenditures like this raise questions in other parts of the country, said the director of The Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

The Postal B building on Sparks Street at Elgin is undergoing significant renovations. Taxpayers are decrying the cost of the Canada 150 covering, while the federal government has yet to decide what the future holds for Centre Block.

Ryan Tumilty / Metro Order this photo

The Postal B building on Sparks Street at Elgin is undergoing significant renovations. Taxpayers are decrying the cost of the Canada 150 covering, while the federal government has yet to decide what the future holds for Centre Block.

A plastic wrap around a downtown office building cost the federal government $555,000.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation discovered through access to information, that the Public Services and Procurement Canada spent $555,272.10 on the wrap of the Postal B building on Sparks Street at the corner of Elgin Street.

Aaron Wudrick, the federation’s director, said they passed the giant building wrap on a regular basis and simply wondered what it might have cost.

“It was a classic case of we were walking by, down the street and thinking I wonder what that cost.”

He said they were pretty stunned by the number.

“It’s half a million dollars just to cover up a building basically.”

The majority of the cost was for installation of the wrap around the structure, which cost $330,409.91. That price also includes removal.

Design work for the wrap cost $82,520 and creating it cost $110,730.30.

Mayor Jim Watson has previously called for the government to do a similar wrap around Parliament’s Centre Block when that building goes under construction next year, for what could be more than a decade of work.

Watson said he would like to see the government do a wrap around the scaffolding with an image of Centre Block, so tourists could continue to get that iconic Ottawa photo.

Wudrick said given how much this one wrap cost, he can’t see justifying the expense for Centre Block.  

“People who come to see Parliament come to see the building, they don’t come to see a picture of the building,” he said.

He said there are expenses that go into being a capital that are unavoidable, but things like this make people in other parts of the country question the expense.  

“They wouldn’t imagine that it cost $500,000 to throw essentially a coloured sheet over a building.”

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) spokesperson Pierre-Alain Bujold said the decision to use a branded tarp was based on concern from the National Capital Commission, City of Ottawa and Sparks Street Business and it might have a second life.

"PSPC is exploring options to reuse the tarp once construction is completed. We are looking for ways to partner with community-based organizations."

He said the tarp was needed and even a plain white one would have cost over $200,000.

He said no decisions have been made on Centre Block.

"PSPC is working with their partners to develop and consider options to engage visitors and Canadians during the rehabilitation work and to maintain a positive visitor experience for the millions who come to Parliament Hill annually."
 

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