Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ire over cop-shop costs

Overruns could reach $17M; council demands answers

  • Print
The conversion project for the new police headquarters is now on budget, Coun. Russ Wyatt says.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

The conversion project for the new police headquarters is now on budget, Coun. Russ Wyatt says. Photo Store

Senior city politicians confirmed cost overruns at Winnipeg's new police headquarters could reach $17 million -- but they don't know how much money was spent, why and who authorized it.

Mayor Sam Katz and Couns. Russ Wyatt (Transcona) and Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands) expressed their disappointment with the exploding budget for the new police headquarters, but said senior administrators and the police executive will appear at Wednesday's executive police committee meeting to provide them with answers.

"I'm beyond mad about this," said protection chairman Fielding as he, finance chairman Wyatt and the mayor met with reporters Thursday. "We told them to fix the problem, come back, and get us all the information."

Fielding said he learned of the possible cost overruns from the Free Press at the end of September and members of the police executive and senior administrators were given a month to provide the answers for EPC.

Winnipeg's police headquarters project started after the city abandoned a plan to fix the Tyndall-stone facade of the Public Safety Building. The $19-million original budget for that project ballooned to $65 million before it was cancelled in 2007.

The cost of buying and renovating the former Canada Post building on Graham Avenue had an original budget of $135 million but soon rose to $168 million and eventually to $194 million. The latter figure, announced in 2011 when a shooting range was scrapped from the project, was supposed to be a guaranteed maximum price.

Wyatt said the project is on budget now and no additional funds have been spent. He said there's only been an indication changes could push the project far over budget.

"The CFO (Mike Ruta) said we are within budget in terms of existing work thus far. If they need to make changes beyond that, that's where they would need to get political approval," Wyatt said.

Wyatt said the cost overruns are attributed to changes requested by Winnipeg Police Service executives. Regardless of the reasons why the changes are sought, he said, the WPS should be responsible for finding those funds -- either in the operating budget or the capital budget.

"We've already adjusted that (police headquarters) budget once," Wyatt said. "I can't support another dime over the budget that's there now."

Wyatt said over the past 10 years, taxpayers have opened their wallets for police, providing them with a new downtown headquarters, new stations in the east and southwest, a helicopter, and increasing the number of officers from 1,100 to 1,400.

St. Boniface Coun. Dan Vandal, however, said he attended the same briefing as other EPC members and does not believe the responsibility for cost overruns lies with police.

Katz said someone authorized spending more than the budget without getting political approval, but he wouldn't identify the individual.

"I'll let it all come out on Wednesday when we get totally briefed," the mayor said.

Katz said former CAO Phil Sheegl, who was a member of the administrative steering committee that oversees the building project, did not authorize the cost overruns. Sheegl was not head of the project steering committee and someone else was responsible for making that decision.

As deputy CAO, Sheegl convinced Ottawa to sole-source the sale of the former Canada Post building to the City of Winnipeg and listed the project as one of his achievements in a farewell letter to council.

Multiple sources at city hall say the projected cost overruns served as the final straw for Sheegl's time as CAO -- something Katz denied.

Winnipeg Police Association president Mike Sutherland said he took offence to Wyatt's suggestion the police service was responsible for cost overruns at the headquarters.

"Wyatt well knows police had very little to do with the acquisition and procurement, in fact probably far less to do with it than the fire chief had to do with the fire halls," said Sutherland, referring to the fire-paramedic station replacement program.

"He certainly is well-aware that the same players in the civic bureaucracy played a key role in the police HQ deal."

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 25, 2013 B1

History

Updated on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 8:29 AM CDT: Adds photo

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Bartley Kives on 5 obstacles for new mayor and city council

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young goose gobbles up grass at Fort Whyte Alive Monday morning- Young goslings are starting to show the markings of a adult geese-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 20– June 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A nesting goose sits on the roof of GoodLife Fitness at 143 Nature Way near Kenaston as the morning sun comes up Wednesday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 07- Web crop-May 09, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will you get out and vote for a new mayor and council?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google