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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Katz says new police HQ can be properly managed

Posted: 11/1/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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Final preparations for the new police headquarters will be accomplished without impacting existing services, the mayor says.

Mayor Sam Katz told reporters Thursday 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 over whether unapproved, last-minute changes to the building would result in the project going another $10 million to $17 million overbudget.

Some councillors, such as finance chairman Russ Wyatt and police board chairman 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 incomplete and partial plans, which some councillors wanted to blame on the police brass in order to cut back the WPS budget.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 1, 2013 B5

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