OTTAWA — Prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau will announce soon whether he and his family will delay their move into 24 Sussex Drive, a residence that is in pressing need of major renovations.
"We're going to take the next couple of days to make some decisions," Liberal spokeswoman Kate Purchase said Friday.
The official residence for sitting Canadian prime ministers is where Trudeau and his brothers grew up when their father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, held the job.
Justin Trudeau's mother, Margaret Sinclair, told the CBC on Friday her son would not be moving immediately into 24 Sussex Drive.
"Twenty-four Sussex is in need — has been in need since I was there 40 years ago — of major infrastructure repair, and it simply hasn't been done," she said.
"They'll live somewhere else while — not decor, not fancy stuff — just plumbing and roofs and all the things that keep a house standing [are repaired]."
A report from the auditor general's office in 2008 pegged the cost of renovating the building at $10 million.
"The most recent work of an extensive nature carried out at 24 Sussex Drive dates back to when it was purchased by the government, over 50 years ago," the report said.
"It is therefore not surprising to note that a number of the residence's systems are reaching the end of their useful lives, are in poor condition, and will have to be replaced in the near future."
The report went on to mention various shortcomings, including cracked windows and caulking; noisy and inefficient air-conditioning units; a deficient plumbing system; and an electrical system that operated at nearly maximum capacity and couldn't meet increases in demand or new operational requirements.
Trudeau and his family have been renting a home for about the last two years in the well-to-do Ottawa neighbourhood of Rockcliffe. But the house has been sold.
The National Capital Commission, which has managed 24 Sussex Drive since 1986, said Friday it will ensure the Trudeaus are "accommodated in a comfortable and appropriate setting while details regarding the 24 Sussex Drive residence are finalized."
Built between 1866 and 1868, 24 Sussex Drive became public property in 1943. The government had extensive renovation work done on it between 1949 and 1951 to make it an official residence.
The 1,000 square-metre residence has three storeys and 34 rooms and is located on a two-hectare property overlooking the Ottawa River.
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