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October 23, 2014
For immediate release
Legislative Assembly to relocate to Coles Building in 2015
Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal
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The Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island will meet in the historic Coles Building while Province House National Historic Site is undergoing conservation, says Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Robert Vessey.
“Located next to Province House, the Coles Building stands as an important landmark in our province’s legal and political history,” said the Minister. “It is only fitting that this historic building, named after our province’s first premier and Father of Confederation, George Coles, be the temporary meeting place of our Legislative Assembly.”
Work to conserve Province House will begin in January 2015, and is anticipated to last three to five years. Parks Canada and the Government of Prince Edward Island recognize the significance of Province House as the Birthplace of Confederation and the important role it plays as home to the provincial legislature.
During the conservation work, the Legislative Assembly will meet in the Pope Room on the first floor of the Coles Building. A seating area will provide public access to view the proceedings. The administrative, security and press offices will also be relocated to the Coles Building. The Office of the Speaker and the Office of the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly will be relocated across the street from the Coles Building at 197 Richmond Street.
“On behalf of the Standing Committee on Legislative Management, we are very pleased that Parks Canada is undertaking this conservation to historic Province House, and following the fall sitting of the legislature, we look forward to our interim home in the Coles Building,” said the Honourable Carolyn Bertram, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. “We want to reassure Islanders that while there may be some adjustments, our goal is to maintain the efficient operation of the Legislative Assembly during this temporary relocation. We appreciate everyone’s understanding and cooperation as we work through this transition.”
The Coles Building, formerly known as the Law Courts Building, is located at 175 Richmond Street and was constructed between 1874 and 1876 to house the Supreme Court. Prominent local architect Thomas Alley designed the building and a large number of carpenters, masons and other tradesmen worked on various parts of the project. The brick building would remain home to the Supreme Court until 1976 when the building suffered a fire, destroying the roof and clock tower. The courts were moved and the building was renovated and renamed after former premier George Coles.
Q. Will the furniture be moved from the Legislative Assembly chamber in Province House to the Pope Room?
Q. Will the proceedings of the legislature continue to be broadcast?
Q. When will Province House be closed and when is it anticipated to reopen?
A. This three- to five-year project is scheduled to begin in January 2015.
Q. How do the sizes of the rooms compare?
A. The rooms are very similar in size; in fact, the Pope Room is slightly larger, meaning it is large enough to host the Legislative Assembly and provide space for public seating.
Q. Where will legislative committees meet?
A. Legislative committees will meet in the J. Angus Maclean Building which currently houses the offices of Elections PEI. The furnishings of the Pope Room will be moved to this building.
Q. Are any employees or offices leaving the Coles Building to accommodate the Legislative Assembly?
A. As some meeting and office space in the Coles Building will now be used for offices related to the Legislative Assembly, additional space has been identified at the J. Angus Maclean Building. Elections PEI, which is currently located at the J. Angus MacLean Building, will be moving to the Atlantic Technology Centre.