A pair of local doctors want to preserve a former St. Boniface police station and convert it into a bilingual medical clinic.
Doctors Marc and Sharon Fréchette have offered to buy the former police station at 227 Provencher Blvd. from the city for $680,000 -- $80,000 above the asking price. Marc Fréchette said he has seen a dramatic increase in the number of patients who request French-speaking physicians. He and his wife want to recruit bilingual physicians for a new clinic.
He said many immigrants to Manitoba are from French-speaking countries in Africa.
"We have an increasing population of French-speaking individuals who do not speak one word of English," said Fréchette, a family doctor who practises in a clinic on Marion Street. "We're having more and more difficulty providing care to French-speaking patients."
Architect Étienne Gaboury designed the building in 1963. He also designed the Esplanade Riel, the Royal Canadian Mint and the St. Boniface Cathedral, and was inducted into the Order of Canada for his work.
The former District 5 station closed after city council approved a plan to reduce the number of districts in Winnipeg.
The city declared the building surplus in 2007, and put out an expression of interest for the sale, lease or redevelopment of the property. No submissions were received by the February 2010 closing date, and last year, administration recommended it be put up for sale to the public.
The station was initially listed for $470,000, with the stipulation the purchaser demolish it and submit plans for a residential development. The demolition requirement was scrapped in July after concerns were raised by Gaboury and the community.
A report released Monday said the price increased to $600,000 since demolition was no longer being considered. The report recommends selling the building to the Fréchettes. The property committee will consider the report on Friday.
-- Jen Skerritt