Winnipeg police headquarters price tag will rise again

Additional security measures for the new Winnipeg police headquarters will push the costs even higher for the massively over-budget building.
Additional security measures for the new Winnipeg police headquarters will push the costs even higher for the massively over-budget building 1:20

Additional security measures for the new Winnipeg police headquarters will push the costs even higher for the massively over-budget building.

Security barriers around the downtown complex were not part of the original $135 million dollar price tag. Installing bollards, posts made of concrete and steel, along the sidewalk around the building is estimated to cost as much as $1.9 million.

Finance chair Marty Morantz says he has discussed the issue with city staff in the municipal accommodations section of the Property Planning and Development department and says they are doing an assessment to see what may be available to provide the enhanced security.

A decision on the costs to install permanent barricades around the facility would be made in the 2016 budget process.

Security barriers have been installed around a number of public buildings across North America as a response to potential threats such as 9/11. 

Morantz says he has been told concrete barriers, called Jersey walls, can be put in place in the interim. The city already has the modular concrete barriers available at modest expense, but there is no budget in place to pay for their installation. Jersey walls are commonly used to separate lanes of traffic on roads and highways.

A spokesperson for the city says installing bollards was discussed and planned for years and will be installed around the headquarters building. Jersey walls will be put in place in the interim.

According to the city, installing bollards was not part of the original budget of the building but was a "known requirement."

The design of the bollards and where they will be placed is currently under review.  The price tag is based on a preliminary option design.

Latest in a long line of problems for HQ project

New Winnipeg Police HQ needs security barriers, which could add almost $2 million dollars to the cost of the building which is already over budget. (CBC)

The Winnipeg Police Service was scheduled to move into its new headquarters this fall, but other security and safety provisions for the building pushed back the entry date. A review by a consultant of the building's safeguards — both electrical and fire suppression — called for more work.

The headquarters project has been plagued by cost overruns and delays, pushing the price tag for the building to approximately $77 million over the original estimates. The project was the subject of an audit that revealed poor planning and management and is now part of an RCMP investigation.

Morantz, who has frequently warned of the city's fragile finances, says "I'm as frustrated as any other citizens on the status of this project."

Morantz says he's focused on "taxpayers getting value for their dollars," but declined comment on how a building that required a high level of security could be planned and built without provision for security barriers around its perimeters.


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