Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Council approves funding to finish fire hall

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City council voted to advance $2.5 million from next year's capital budget to complete the construction of four new fire-paramedic stations this year.

The cost of the project increased to $17.8 million from $15.3 million.

The bulk of the cost increase -- $2.2 million -- involves Station No. 11, under construction inside a cloverleaf on Portage Avenue.

Councillors called the situation a "lose-lose", saying they were being asked to approve additional spending without any clear idea of what prompted the cost overruns.

Coun. Paula Havixbeck (Charleswood-Tuxedo) said after three hours of questioning city administration about the cost overruns, she received no meaningful answers.

Protection and community services chair Coun. Scott Fielding (St. James) said the fire hall replacement program was plagued by mistakes throughout the process. However, he said if council did not approve the funds the city runs the risk of having a half-built fire hall that would be an "iconic symbol of incompetence."

City council voted 12-3 to approve he additional spending. Couns. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge), Brian Mayes (St. Vital) and Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre) voted against.

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