Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Councillors question putting cash into the PSB

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CITY councillors have questioned whether the city is "throwing money" at the Public Safety Building.

The building is set to be vacated by Winnipeg police in 2014, when officers move into new headquarters in the renovated Canada Post building on Graham Avenue.

On Tuesday, council property chairman Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) asked city administration if there was a way to extend the life of the building's current system to avoid spending money on a $1.8-million cooling system in 2013.

Property officials said the province will no longer let the city use Freon as a coolant, and the building needs to ensure its data and call centre is cool in the summer.

Browaty said he would feel more comfortable about the expense if the city had more concrete plans on what it is going to do with the building.

"It does, in some way, feel like we're throwing money at it when we don't know its future," he said.

Property director Barry Thorgrimson said city officials hope to complete a report next month on what the city could do with the building, including how it could be repurposed.

Meanwhile, he said, engineers are doing an assessment to make sure the building's safety is not threatened by the neighbouring Civic Centre Parkade, which was closed last August due to structural concerns.

Thorgrimson said part of the Public Safety Building is located under the parkade, and engineers are examining whether additional shoring is required to ensure the parkade does not "pancake" on the below-ground police operations.

 

-- Jen Skerritt

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 16, 2013 B1

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