Heritage buildings urgently require work, says Auditor General
February 11, 2004
By Canadian Consulting Engineer
According to Sheila Fraser, Auditor General of Canada, heritage buildings in Canada are in a sorry state of disrepa...
According to Sheila Fraser, Auditor General of Canada, heritage buildings in Canada are in a sorry state of disrepair and will need major work to bring them up to par.
In her report tabled in the House of Commons on February 10, she said:
“We must act now. Our cultural heritage is disappearing. More than two-thirds of national historic sites managed by Parks Canada and federal heritage buildings are in poor to fair condition. More than 90 percent of the collections of the National Library of Canada are housed in buildings that do not meet current standards for temperature and humidity.’
Ms. Fraser indicated that a number of national historic sites will require preservation work within two years to prevent the loss of their historic features, or else face being closed to the public. Water leaks that damage the National Library’s collections occur regularly she said. She also mentioned the 170-year old Fort Henry in Kingston, Ontario, which she described as “seriously impaired.” She warned it would crumble to the ground in two years without attention.
“Once a piece of our history is lost, it’s lost forever,” said Ms. Fraser in the published report. “And the situation is not improving. Our cultural heritage is continually growing, and what we’ve got is already threatened.”
The report notes that Parliament does not receive complete information on the state of cultural heritage protection. The government needs to provide better information on the extent and the long-term implications of conservation problems and their meaning for Canadians. Moreover, it also needs to provide specific information on expected conservation results, their costs, and the results achieved.