The federal government is committing another $46 million to the conservation project that is restoring and updating P.E.I.'s historic legislature building in downtown Charlottetown, bringing the total cost to $138 million.
Charlottetown MP Sean Casey announced the funding for Province House on behalf of the federal environment minister on Wednesday.
Parks Canada, which is responsible for the maintenance of the 176-year-old stone structure, says the new money will cover the final two phases of the four-stage conservation project that began eight years ago.
The project's new completion date is expected to be sometime in 2025, according to a Parks Canada news release.
Prince Edward Island's Legislative Assembly began meeting in Province House in 1847, and in 1864 the building hosted the Charlottetown Conference that eventually led to Canada's Confederation.
After the building played a role in events tied to the 150th anniversary of the meetings of the Fathers of Confederation, it was closed in January 2015 for extensive restoration work.
The restoration of Province House National Historic Site, shown inside construction barriers in downtown Charlottetown on Wednesday, is now expected to be completed by 2025. (Jane Robertson/CBC)
Roof issues had caused major water damage, and conservators later determined that many of the building's large stone blocks needed to be replaced. Its foundation and windows also needed major work, Parks Canada said.
The initial project had a budget of between $30 million and $50 million. By February 2020, the federal government announced the four-phase project would be completed by the summer of 2022, at a cost of $91.8 million.
The rising budget and delays have been attributed to the discovery of more-serious structural concerns, increased material costs, and workforce and supply chain issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It was funded very incrementally," Parks Canada project manager Nicolle Gallant said Wednesday. "At first, we just started to do some basic conservation work that we knew absolutely needed to happen and that's when that small amount was initially allocated.
"But [when] the federal infrastructure fund came into place, that's when we were really able to get a hold of some money that we knew we were going to need to do this building the way it was supposed to be done."
Reporters were offered a tour of the inside of Province House on Wednesday, as the funding was announced. (Julien Lecacheur/Radio-Canada)
Contract for Phase 3 in place
Wednesday's funding announcement included an update on how the work has been going.
Federal officials said there is now a contract in place to complete phase 3, which includes making the building fully accessible, ensuring it complies with the fire code, and completing work on the electrical, mechanical and HVAC systems as well as interior finishes.
Phase 4, the final stage of the project, will focus on the visitor experience at the building.
"National and local Indigenous and cultural communities have been engaged to ensure that many voices are included in the exhibits," Parks Canada said in the news release.