Rideau Hall’s $8-million storage barn raises eyebrows

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Rideau Hall storage barn a slap in the face to taxpayers

As countless Canadians scrimp and save during challenging times, the federal government splurged a whopping $8 million on a luxurious storage barn at Rideau Hall. Spearheaded by the National Capital Commission (NCC), which is in charge of maintaining Canada’s official residences, this expenditure during the pandemic era is nothing short of scandalous.

Documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) reveal the barn’s hefty price tag of $8,049,853. To offer some context, the same amount could purchase the entire palatial mansion situated on the Rideau Canal, which is often referred to as “Ottawa’s most opulent home,” and still have money left over.

Franco Terrazzano
Franco Terrazzano

Rideau Hall storage barn
Rideau Hall’s $8 million barn
Image courtesy Canadian Taxpayers Federation
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Franco Terrazzano, CTF Federal Director, expressed disbelief at the costs, saying, “I don’t know much about farming, but I’m pretty sure my buddies in Brooks can build a barn for a lot less than eight million bucks. It seems like the NCC goes out of its way to spend as much money as possible.”

The two-level barn, touted as the government’s inaugural “zero-carbon” facility, functions primarily as a workspace and storage. The NCC approved its final design in June 2019. Construction began in July 2020 and concluded in winter 2021. Among its features are a washing bay, a repair garage, tool and equipment storage, vehicle storage, and additional storage areas.

However, CTF’s findings indicate there were several design “change orders” after the commencement of construction, which means the design was changed after construction began, potentially affecting costs.

Historically, the NCC has frequently cited “decades of underfunding” or “chronic underfunding” regarding the upkeep of Canada’s six official residences. These taxpayer-funded homes cater to politicians, the governor general, and foreign dignitaries. But a recent CTF report highlighted that between 2006 and 2022, $135 million was spent by the NCC on renovations and maintenance.

Despite such expenditures, the NCC anticipates needing an additional $175 million over the next 10 years for restoration efforts.

“It’s absurd for the NCC to claim financial strains after an $8 million outlay on a storage barn,” Terrazzano said. “If the NCC cannot manage these properties efficiently, it might be time for the government to consider other alternatives.”

| Staff

To interview Franco Terrazzano, click here.

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