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November 26, 2018

Mike Holmes ponders if PM’s asbestos-filled house should be a museum

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I vote for Mike’s idea to have 24 Sussex set-up as a museum. Our tax dollars could be better spent building roads and infrastructure rather than a reno or rebuild.

Arnie Gess, President of Construction Links Network


Save it or scrap it?

That’s been the crux of the debate over 24 Sussex, the official residence of the prime minister, which currently sits empty. Asbestos has been found inside the 12,000 square-foot stone mansion, and the electrical system poses a fire hazard.

Renovating the historic homestead, built in 1868, would cost taxpayers $34.5 million, according to a new report. It’s even more expensive to tear down the home and rebuild it, estimated at $38 million.

But TV host and professional contractor Mike Holmes says a third option should be on the table: turn the house into a public institution.

“When it comes to this home, another question should be: Should it be a museum?” Holmes told CTV’s Question Period in an interview airing Sunday.

“Should we turn it back to history for all the prime ministers that were there, for the public to walk in and see it? Or should it be for the prime minister, and the next prime minister, and continue this cycle? That is a big question. I’m not sure what to do about that.”

No one has lived inside the Ottawa house since Stephen Harper moved out in 2015. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – who grew up in 24 Sussex when his father was prime minister — currently lives across the street at Rideau Cottage, a four-bedroom home on the grounds of Rideau Hall.

When Stephen Harper lived in the home from 2006 to 2016, about $6 million was spent on capital improvements and $2.8 million on operations at the residence. The National Capital Commission has said that wasn’t enough to fix the property, which it described as in “critical condition.”

The government has not made any plans to rebuild 24 Sussex.

Keep reading on CTV News


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