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Secret site for police bomb unit

The Winnipeg Police Service's bomb unit has been without a permanent home for almost five years, but that's about to end.

City officials pulled together $1.5 million Wednesday to renovate an existing civic building -- but the location is being kept secret for "security concerns."

Executive policy committee approved reallocating $550,000 in police budget funds toward to the new bomb-unit facility.

That money is added to $546,480 the WPS planned to spend on the bomb unit this year, along with another $400,000 from the civic municipal accommodations division.

Mayor Sam Katz said EPC approved reallocating police funds because the money wasn't being used.

The reallocation of funds still must be approved by council.

The bomb unit used to be based in the old Transcona police station on Pandora Avenue West.

The bomb unit had to find another base in 2009 when the Pandora facility was closed and officers -- except the bomb unit -- moved into the new East District station on Dugald Road.

The bomb unit moved into an unnamed temporary civic facility, close to a residential neighbourhood. Now the temporary location is also set to be sold and the bomb unit is moving into another secret location, which will house several other WPS "specialized units."


Rent a 'bendy' bus for a bash

Need a big ride to help celebrate a special birthday or event coming up? Rent a "bendy" bus.

Winnipeg Transit has proposed charter rates for its 20, 60-foot articulated buses -- $182.25 per hour.

Hurry, because the rate jumps $5 an hour, beginning Sept. 1.

An administrative report prepared for this morning's public works committee said the charter rates are consistent with those from other municipalities.

Transit rents its buses, if available, to groups and organizations.

The proposed rate for the articulated buses is a 50 per cent premium over the cost of renting a regular bus ($121.50 per hour) but Transit thinks the "bendy" bus will be very popular, even with the steeper price tag.

Rebuilding roads real goal: Katz

Winnipeg will have pothole problems until it spends enough money to rebuild roads and maintain them, Mayor Sam Katz said Wednesday.

But Katz said Winnipeg isn't able to devote the money necessary to rebuild and maintain its road network.

"Potholes are nothing new. The reality is we need to build a lot of newer roads, TBOs, (road repaving) but most importantly... we need to maintain them properly.

"If you don't maintain it, that's what happens."

Katz said he is grateful for the $66 million the province announced in the budget it is giving to the city over five years for roadway projects, but added the province should rebate the provincial sales tax the city is forced to pay, just as the federal government rebates the GST.

Katz said city hall is spending $89 million this year on streets, sidewalks and back lanes -- an unprecedented amount for the city.

But he said that's not enough, given the poor state of the roads.

— Staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 13, 2014 B2

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