Prime Minister Justin Trudeau built himself a $2.5-million mansion at Harrington Lake with taxpayer funds to serve as a temporary residence.
The property, which originally served as a caretaker’s house was built in 1850 but Trudeau had it relocated and rebuilt to serve as a temporary residence while the main cottage is undergoing a $6.1 million restoration.
According to the National Capital Commission (NCC), which manages government residences in the Ottawa region, the property has been renamed the “Farmhouse” and will be used as a guest house for when the main property is completed.
“The NCC has asked the Prime Minister to use the Farmhouse temporarily, pending completion of renovations at the main cottage. Once these renovations are complete, the Farmhouse will serve as a guest house,” said NCC spokesperson Jean Wolff told the Globe and Mail.
The Farmhouse will be the second guest house to have been built on the property.
“The original building was dismantled, with heritage components integrated into the new structure, and moved to a site closer to the main cottage,” said Wolff.
“There are no new buildings being constructed. NCC completed rehabilitation and relocation of the old Caretaker’s House. No, it is not bigger. I do reiterate that it is inappropriate, for me, to comment on images that are not our own or that cannot be validated by the NCC.”
Satellite images of the area appear to show a much larger building being erected in the place of the original house. According to the Globe and Mail the original cottage took up 260 square metres in floor area, while the new property will be 450 square metres in area.
The estimated cost of all restorations at Harrington Lake will be $17.8 million in taxpayer dollars, according to Wolff.
Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre said that the explanation given for the property’s relocation and reconstruction does not stand up and he accused the government of covering up Trudeau’s “new waterfront mansion.”
“It sounds like they have effectively built the Prime Minister a new waterfront mansion while his old mansion is renovated. And they are trying to cover it up with complicated stories about how they have just moved the caretaker’s derelict cottage up the road,” he said.
“What they should have just said is the Prime Minister needs a lakeside mansion while his existing one is renovated and we’re going to spend $2.5-million to build one.”
Trudeau recently got into hot water after visiting the Harrington Lake property with his family during the coronavirus lockdown while telling Canadians to avoid going out on unnecessary trips and to practice social distancing.