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Police HQ will not affect services: Katz

The new Winnipeg police HQ in the renovated Canada Post building on Graham Avenue.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The new Winnipeg police HQ in the renovated Canada Post building on Graham Avenue. Photo Store

Final preparations of the new police headquarters will be accomplished without impacting existing services.

Mayor Sam Katz told reporters this morning that, following an administrative briefing Wednesday on the Graham Avenue building, the project can be properly managed.

"Contrary to what some people thought, we can address this without having any negative impact on anything else we’re doing," Katz said. "They explained the ‘whys’ and ‘whens’ (of the potential building plan changes). We’ve also looked at solutions."

Speculation erupted last week about unapproved, last-minute changes to the building would result in the project going another $10-million to $17-million over budget.

Some councillors, like finance chair Russ Wyatt and police board chair Scott Fielding, were blaming senior executives at the Winnipeg Police Service for the additional expenses and threatened to take any needed funds out of the police budget.

Katz hinted the doomsday scenario will not happen.

The new police headquarters – the former Canada Post building – had an original budget of $140.5 million for purchase and renovations but that climbed to $168 million in 2010 and to $194 million in 2011, a figure that was supposed to be guaranteed.

However, the guarantee was based on an incomplete and partial plans, which some councillors wanted to blame on the police brass in order to cut back the WPS budget.

Katz and the six other members of council were given the administrative briefing Wednesday. A council seminar with the nine other members of council is set for Friday morning.

History

Updated on Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 4:36 PM CDT: A previous version of this story indicated the mayor had said the project would require no further budget increases. This has been corrected to indicate the mayor said the project would not impact existing services.

5:43 PM: corrects headline

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