Cost soars on new Winnipeg police HQ

The cost of Winnipeg's new police headquarters has soared by $20 million.

The cost to redevelop Winnipeg's new police headquarters has soared by about $28 million.

A report released on Thursday states the price is now $155 million and a downtown development committee at City Hall had to schedule a special meeting to vote on the extra spending.

The committee recommended it be approved, but not without reservations. Coun. Justin Swandel said he is troubled by the mounting expenses and laments the poor initial estimates.

Firing range moving

The firing range used by the WPS is on the move … again.

Officers presently use an outdoor range in the Waverley West area. But it has to move because of new housing in the area.

The plan was to build an indoor shooting range on top of the new HQ. But Thursday's report suggests it would be best located near the sewage treatment plan in the city's west end.

The new range would be outdoors and have 35 lanes rather than the 25 that had been planned for the HQ.

Council will make a decision on the location next week.

Preliminary estimates provided by consultants are often low, he said, and as time goes by the figures always seem to climb.

"That's the world we live in," Swandel told CBC News. "We've had years where things have gone up because we've experienced double-digit inflation just in construction inflation. We've had years when our budgets have been out of whack just because of the cost of concrete."

Now that the true costs are becoming clear, he said, the city has to borrow more money to cover the gap.

The committee's recommendation must now go to city council for a final decision.

Winnipeg city council in November 2009 voted to approve the purchase of the Canada Post sorting plant at 266 Graham Ave. and convert it into the new police HQ.

The building cost $29.25 million while annother $105 million was estimated to redevelop it to meet the needs of the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS). That redevelopment cost was later increased to $127 million.

The latest increase is being blamed on construction costs that are about $80 a square foot higher than the initial budget.

The Graham Avenue location will allow police to consolidate its various departments, currently scattered around the city in various buildings, under a single roof.

The new site also provides a greater presence downtown, is more accessible to the nearby Law Courts complex and leaves room for future expansion inside the building.