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Review of infrastructure assets should include selling off MLA offices: Wildrose

EDMONTON, AB (January 20, 2015): The PC government should look at putting the new MLA office building up for sale as part of the government’s review of selling Alberta Infrastructure assets instead of putting hospitals and schools on the chopping block,  the Wildrose Official Opposition announced today.

Earlier this month, Premier Jim Prentice said the government is looking at disposing surplus assets, while Infrastructure Minister Manmeet Bhullar said his department is looking at infrastructure assets that could be better utilized by having private ownership.

The Wildrose has long stood against the $400 million dollar renovation of the Federal building, highlighting it as a symbol of the PC government’s waste, mismanagement and inability to prioritize spending on core services.

“This PC government is clearly showing their priorities by putting the comforts of MLAs and bureaucrats ahead of hospital repairs and school classrooms,” Wildrose Infrastructure Critic Pat Stier said. “This project has been a disaster from the start with constant delays and going $100 million over budget.  With the value of the land, and the cost of the renovations, the government should be able to earn back solid returns, with the added benefit of closing the gap on this year’s deficit.”

According to a recent Members Services’ committee meeting, the costs of moving from the Legislature Annex to the Federal Building alone is just short of $9 million.

As part of the renovation, the Federal Building is now home to the Sky Palace, a private amphitheater, a rooftop garden, porcelain wall tile, luxury custom drapes and a $1 million empty Zamboni garage.

Wildrose MLA Shayne Saskiw said with the PC government threatening to increase taxes, the Federal Building sits as just another eyesore for Albertans.

“If Mr. Prentice is serious about asking Albertans to pay more, he needs to only look outside his window and see exactly why he needs to put an end to his tax talk,” Saskiw said. “We all know there is more than enough office space for politicians and bureaucrats in Edmonton.  We don’t need to put other core government services at risk to keep this wasteful project afloat.”