THE City of Winnipeg is one step closer to acquiring the property below fire-paramedic Station No. 12, though some councillors are grumbling it has taken too long to seal the deal for the south River Heights land.
In November, council's property committee asked city real estate staff to negotiate the purchase of 1780 Taylor Ave. from Shindico Realty, which built four new fire-paramedic stations, including Station No. 12.
The city has conducted an appraisal of the property and Shindico will soon complete one of its own, development manager Bob Downs said Thursday.
"It is in hand," Downs said of the pending property transfer, which council is eager to conclude.
Under a process laid out last fall, the final value for the Taylor Avenue property will be an average of the two appraisals, provided they wind up within 10 per cent of each other. If not, a third appraisal will be conducted by an independent, out-of-province firm amenable to both parties.
Council must approve the price.
Last fall, a majority of councillors criticized the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service and city property officials for building Station No. 12 on privately owned land. Some are annoyed the city still has yet to acquire this land.
The direction from council was to acquire the property as soon as possible, regardless of the outcome of an external review into the fire-paramedic station replacement program and a broader audit of city real estate transactions, said council property chairman Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan).
"We need some certainty and some closure on this matter. Our instructions were not to wait for the real estate audit. I'm a little underwhelmed the department did not move forward on it," he said.
Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt, Winnipeg's deputy mayor, accused "unelected senior city officials" of picking and choosing which council directives to heed. "This is one they've chosen to ignore," Wyatt said.
In addition to the construction of the new Station No. 12, which replaced an aging facility on Grosvenor Avenue, the fire-paramedic station replacement program saw a new Station No. 27 open in Sage Creek and a new Station No. 18 replace the previous one at the same Roblin Boulevard site.
The fourth new fire-paramedic hall, Station No. 11, remains under construction inside a cloverleaf on Portage Avenue and Route 90. Construction will conclude late this year at a cost of "just under $7 million," city spokeswoman Michelle Bailey said in a statement.
A city report in October pegged the cost of Station No. 11 at $6.5 million. The original projected budget for the station was $4.3 million.
Charleswood-Tuxedo Coun. Paula Havixbeck said she and her colleagues remain in the dark about the cost increases pertaining to Station No. 11.
She criticized the time it has taken for the city to acquire Station No. 12.