Winnipeg city council votes down police HQ audit
Councillors vote not to review cause behind $75 million in cost overruns for new police headquaters
Winnipeg’s city council has voted not to do an audit of the construction of the new Winnipeg Police Service headquarters.
The costs to build the new offices on Graham Avenue have ballooned to more than $75 million over original estimates.
Coun. Paula Havixbeck and Coun. Jenny Gerbasi introduced a motion to run a full audit of how the project was handled, but their fellow councillors voted against the idea.
Mayor Sam Katz said an audit isn’t necessary as council already has most of the answers it needs about the process and the costs over runs.
The motion was defeated by a vote of nine to seven.
Havixbeck said she still doesn’t know if $75 million will be a final figure or if the cost could continue to climb.
“There are some serious issues with this, and I literally have been stonewalled,” she said. “I’ve been told, ‘No. You cannot have that.’ Well, I’m a decision maker here, and I represent citizens who have elected me to do a job.”
Havixbeck said she’s not satisfied with the current information that has been released and wants answers.
City council did commission an audit on a fire hall deal earlier this year, the results of which implicated the city’s former CAO, Phil Sheegl in a bungled deal that saw the final project cost much more than initial estimates.
Colin Craig with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said the city is continually showing poor leadership when it comes to managing taxpayer dollars.
“Look what just happened. The city got walked over in this whole process. There’s incompetence at the city, and half of council stood up and shrugged their shoulders,” he said.
Craig said trust in city staff is diminishing as a result of the overruns.