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Councillors still looking for fire station answers

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City council's protection chairwoman says she's disappointed with a report that claims Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Chief Reid Douglas had the authority to change the scope of the new Station No. 11 on Portage Avenue.

A long-awaited report about cost overruns at the last of four new Winnipeg fire-paramedic stations states Douglas had the authority to order the size of the station to increase to 14,000 square feet from 10,500 square feet because he believed that wouldn't affect the budget.

The change, which was ordered before construction began this summer, resulted in the station's budget increasing $2.3 million to $6.5 million.

Normally, department directors require council approval to approve changes that require more funds.

The report -- in the works for a month -- does not explain why Douglas did not expect more space to cost more money.

City council protection and community services chairwoman Paula Havixbeck (Charleswood-Tuxedo) said she has many unanswered questions and intends to summon chief administrative officer Phil Sheegl before her committee on Monday to explain what happened to Station No. 11.

The report states the fire-paramedic service jettisoned the idea of placing a museum at the new station in favour of moving a hazardous-materials unit, an aerial ladder and a training facility into the new space.

Winnipeg chief operations officer Deepak Joshi said this will result in operational efficiencies for the the fire-paramedic service.

But no one will say why a museum was added to the site plan in the first place, Havixbeck said.

Joshi declined to respond to allegations the city ordered up the extra space and then scrambled to justify a use for it later.

"The report is very clear," he said.

History

Updated on Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 12:22 PM CDT: corrects typo

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