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Evidence of meeting #21 for Fisheries and Oceans in the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was access.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Patricia Kell  Director, Policy and Government Relations Branch, National Historic Sites Directorate, Parks Canada Agency
Doug Tapley  Manager, Cabinet Affairs, Parks Canada Agency
Cal Hegge  Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources and Corporate Services, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Krishna Sahay  Director General, Real Property, Safety and Security, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Andrew Anderson  Senior Divestiture Analyst, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Patricia Carney  P.C., Senator (retired), As an Individual

9:30 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources and Corporate Services, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Cal Hegge

Obviously, it depends on the criteria that we have discussed. One possible estimate is a minimum of $65 million. That figure could be higher, depending on certain criteria.

9:30 a.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

That estimate is in the lower range. What factors could conspire to drive up costs?

9:30 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources and Corporate Services, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Cal Hegge

If harbours were included in the structures, then that would drive up the costs. Another factor is the actual number of lighthouses that would receive a heritage designation. Depending on the standards, costs could escalate.

One example that is often cited is that of heritage train stations. If memory serves me well, 60% of train stations have been designated as heritage structures. If we go with a proportion of 60%, then we're closer to the $65 million estimate.

9:35 a.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Would the minimum estimated amount of $65 million be allocated all at once, or would it be paid out in annual increments?

9:35 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources and Corporate Services, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Cal Hegge

We feel that it should be allocated all at once, since we want to raise standards for lighthouses.

9:35 a.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

I assume that you also have an idea of the amount of funding that will be required every year.

9:35 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources and Corporate Services, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Cal Hegge

That would be the responsibility of the new owners.

9:35 a.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Do you have some idea of what that figure might be?

9:35 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources and Corporate Services, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Cal Hegge

No, I do not.

9:35 a.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

I imagine the owner will want to know what the maintenance costs would be. Otherwise, it would not be much of an acquisition.

9:35 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources and Corporate Services, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Cal Hegge

That could be part of the business case that my colleague mentioned.

9:35 a.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

You were about to say something, Mr. Sahay.

9:35 a.m.

Director General, Real Property, Safety and Security, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Krishna Sahay

We do not have any figures at this point in time. We have not really factored these estimates into our calculations.

9:35 a.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

I am sure you can understand that the eventual owners will want to know what potential costs they might face. There are other realities with which we will need to contend, such as the costs associated with the transfer of the structure.

I also have some questions about site decontamination. Is any consideration being given to this?

9:35 a.m.

Director General, Real Property, Safety and Security, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Krishna Sahay

As far as decontamination is concerned, we will have to ensure that the site is environmentally sound before ownership of the lighthouses is transferred to a public body.

9:35 a.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Has the cost of cleaning up the sites been estimated?

9:35 a.m.

Director General, Real Property, Safety and Security, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Krishna Sahay

No, but we do have a program in mind as part of the overall decontamination process.

9:35 a.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

How much money has been earmarked for this purpose?

9:35 a.m.

Director General, Real Property, Safety and Security, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Krishna Sahay

I cannot give you an exact figure, but I can tell you that the cleanup costs will be covered under the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan.

9:35 a.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

I do not know if you can find that out, but I think committee members would appreciate having that information. Will you undertake to get it for us? Can you do that?

9:35 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources and Corporate Services, Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Cal Hegge

I think so. Nevertheless, I want to emphasize that the lack of resources I alluded to has nothing to do with existing site contamination. We have other funds available to us to address that problem. However, we will endeavour to get these estimates to you.

9:35 a.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Just to give you an idea of what we are facing, the cost of decontaminating the Madeleine-Centre site in the riding next to me is estimated at $2 million. That's for a single lighthouse. That explains why I am anxious to have more information. Surely estimates have been done for existing sites and certain figures have been quoted. We could be looking at a substantial sum of money.

9:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Fabian Manning

Thank you.

Before I go to Mr. Stoffer, let me say that in June 2007, the last time this bill was brought to the committee, there were some estimates put forward at that time, Mr. Blais. I will quote Mr. Cal Hegge from that time:

...if only those lighthouses that are part of national historic sites and our highest...[federal heritage-designated] lighthouses were afforded the statutory protections proposed in the bill—

9:35 a.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

You are reading too fast.

9:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Fabian Manning

I should slow down.