‘Demolition by neglect’: Vacant 24 Sussex costing taxpayers millions

OTTAWA — More than four years after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided not to reside at 24 Sussex Drive, there remain no concrete plans for renovations to the deteriorating building as it costs taxpayers millions of dollars in basic upkeep, sources tell CTV News.

Documents obtained by CTV News detail the “urgent repairs” needed at the prime minister’s official residence, including 60-year-old windows, as well as electrical and plumbing systems that are “beyond their life cycle.”

The building’s indoor pool, built in 1975, is costing thousands of dollars annually, but is “not useable and needs to be rebuilt,” according to documents.

Significant improvements are also needed to increase accessibility and security of the property.

The building has served as the official residence of the prime minister since 1951. It consists of 1.6 hectares of land and five buildings, including the 35-room main residence, built in 1868.

“It is the home of the most significant person of our executive, but unfortunately what it represents now is demolition by neglect,” Leslie Maitland, former president of Heritage Ottawa, told CTV News.

In October 2015, Trudeau revealed that he and his family would be staying across the street at Rideau Hall during his time as prime minister. The Prime Minister’s Office said Thursday Trudeau and his family occasionally use the pool at 24 Sussex, while staff uses the kitchen and some offices on the property.

Without a permanent tenant, the government has spent more than $2.3 million in building upkeep at 24 Sussex since 2015, including:

  •  $370,936 for utilities;
  •  $1,374,831 for extra security, which includes overtime; and,
  •  $587,199 for snow and ice removal.

Costs to renovate the building are pegged at $34 million and could cost more than $567 million with security upgrades.