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Officials are recommending the city spend $135 million to purchase and renovate this Canada Post building to house a new headquarters for the Winnipeg Police Service. ((CBC))

A city plan to buy a Canada Post building in downtown Winnipeg and turn it into the new police headquarters is one step closer to reality.

The mayor's cabinet, known as the executive policy committee, gave its support to the multi-million-dollar plan on Wednesday.

City council will decide at a meeting later this month whether to give final approval to the plan.

The City of Winnipeg has already made a $30-million conditional offer on the Canada Post sorting plant, located at 266 Graham Avenue, pending approval from council. It is budgeting another $105 million to renovate the property if council gives it the go-ahead.

The Winnipeg Police Service has said its current location, inside the Public Safety Building at 151 Princess Street, is too small and needs extensive repairs. The limestone-clad exterior of the building is crumbling.

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Police want to vacate the Public Safety Building, which is in need of expensive repair. ((CBC))

The public sidewalks around the Princess St. building have been covered for months with the type of wood shelter seen at construction sites to protect people from any falling pieces of facade.

Last week, city officials said refurbishing the Canada Post building would be more cost-effective than building a new station or renovating the current location.

The city has cited a number of benefits to the plan, including:

  • A greater police presence downtown.
  • Consolidation of police work at a single location.
  • Easier access to the Law Courts complex.
  • Room for expansion.

The Graham Ave. location would also allow police to move their firing range on site. It would be located on the roof of the new building, said police Chief Keith McCaskill.

That doesn't mean there will be bullets flying around downtown Winnipeg, he said after Wednesday's policy committee meeting.

"People aren't going to hear gunshots going off all over the place," he said. "It's going to be a secure facility within the building, completely safe — or else we wouldn't be able to do it. It's going to be another structure built on the roof."

Renovations to the Graham Ave. space would not be completed until mid-2013. City administrators have recommended that once the move is complete, the Public Safety Building be designated as surplus municipal property.