Manitoba

City committee OKs paying extra $16M to Manitoba Hydro for rapid transit corridor

The city's property and development committee approved a land purchase deal for as much as $20.4 million to buy land from Manitoba Hydro for the second stage of the rapid transit line.

Cost of land not set in stone, could eventually be less than $12M

The Amalgamated Transit Union wants interim security measures after drivers were assaulted and threatened on Saturday. (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

The city's property and development committee approved a land purchase deal for as much as $20.4 million to buy land from Manitoba Hydro for the second stage of the rapid transit line.

A city report shows Manitoba Hydro had originally agreed to have an independent appraiser set the value of the transmission corridor that the city needs for the next phase of the southwest rapid transit line. In August 2015 the appraiser came back with a value of $4.7 million. But in January Hydro hired a second appraiser who used a different methodology and valued the land at between $32 and $34 million depending on which alignment option the city chooses. 

Hydro has since reduced the price to $19 to $20.4 million, but it is more than the amount the city originally budgeted for.

INTERACTIVE - Rapid Transit: The Next Phase

River Heights - Fort Garry Coun. and chair of the committee, John Orlikow, said he is concerned about the price increase nonetheless.

"I think there is a public good here that is being taken. I understand the Hydro position is that, 'We have to make sure that we get the best benefit for the rate payer.' But as I say to Hydro and other levels, 'We are the ratepayer,'" said Orlikow.

RAW: Councillor John Orlikow concerned about the price increase for rapid transit corridor

CBC News: Winnipeg at 6:00

5 years ago
1:06
City committee OKs paying extra $16M to Manitoba Hydro for rapid transit corridor. 1:06


Director of Winnipeg Transit Dave Wardrop says the original land acquisition budget was approximately $16 million. And even though this single acquisition could dwarf the initial projections, Wardrop says the project will still be on budget.

"We are expecting to [see] some savings on other elements of the project, which will more than offset that and bring the overall project well within budget," said Wardrop. 

The $20.4 million approved by the committee today is a maximum price limit. If the city is able to transfer closed portions of streets back to Hydro within 18 months of council approval, the eventual price could go to as low as $11.75 to $13.125 million.

Wardrop said the department is expecting to present final design choices and costing in July.

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