Winnipeg police HQ cost overruns hit $45M

Cost overruns on the new police headquarters in Winnipeg have risen to $45 million, pushing the total construction price to more than $177 million.

Total cost of renovating former Canada Post building has now skyrocketed to $177M

Cost overruns on the new police headquarters in Winnipeg have risen to $45 million, pushing the total construction price to more than $177 million. 2:10

Cost overruns on the new police headquarters in Winnipeg have risen to $45 million, pushing the total construction price to more than $177 million.

Councillors learned on Friday that the project is now $17.2 million over budget, on top of the $28 million in cost overruns that were announced in 2011.

"The total cost to redo this building and make it the Winnipeg police headquarters would be $177.4 million," Mayor Sam Katz told reporters.

Katz said incomplete building plans are to blame for rising mechanical and electrical costs. Construction began with only 30 per cent of the architectural drawings completed.

In addition, unforeseen mechanical and electrical issues as well as a number of design changes ordered by the police service for safety and security reasons pushed up the cost.

More contingencies needed, says councillor

Going into Friday, sources had told CBC News the cost of refurbishing the old Canada Post building on Graham Avenue was expected to be as low as $10 million and as high as $17 million above the previously reported overruns of $28 million.

Katz said it is always a challenge tackling a renovation project versus building new.

"Anytime you have cost overruns, it's not a good thing. I can also tell you if you are building something from the ground up it's a much different situation than tackling something of that ilk," he said.

About $3 million in contingencies were budgeted for the project, but Coun. Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands) says that amount should have been more like $16 million.

"I'm concerned about how this project has gone over budget, and I've got concerns about the fire hall and you look at things like the stadium. So I'm going to leave it at that," he said.

But the mayor insisted the city can handle the cost overruns.

"I am of the opinion right now that contrary to what some people have thought, we can address this without having any negative impact on anything else we are doing," said Katz.

The cost to purchase the building was $29.25 million while the original estimated cost to redevelop it to meet the needs of the police service was $105 million.

That redevelopment cost was later increased to $127 million, blamed on bad preliminary estimates. Then it jumped to $155 million and the increase was blamed on rising construction costs.

Read the city report

Below is the latest financial status report by city officials on the Winnipeg Police Service Headquarters Redevelopment Project:


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