Leak in the men's shower drain the latest problem at $214M police headquarters

Water poured down from a shower drain into a busy office where people in custody are detained and processed at Winnipeg Police Headquarters on Saturday.

Dirty water pours into area where people in custody are detained and processed

A still from a video taken in the central processing area at the Winnipeg's police headquarters on Jan. 26, 2019 shows water spilling down into an area where people in custody are detained and processed. (submitted)

Water poured down from a shower drain into a busy office where people in custody are detained and processed at Winnipeg police headquarters on Saturday.

A video of the leak shared with CBC shows water raining down on scaffolding and lockers in the central processing area — just a short distance from desks and employee uniforms.

It's the latest trouble in a problem-plagued building that cost taxpayers nearly $214 million to purchase from Canada Post and renovate.

A spokesperson for Winnipeg police confirmed the leak on Monday and said it was fortunate nothing was damaged by the greywater.

In an internal email sent Jan. 16, Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth said faulty drainage in the men's fourth floor showers was first detected in June 2018.

Smyth said the drains — located directly above the central processing area — were not installed correctly.

The City of Winnipeg's planning, property and development department manages the building and was notified of the problem, Smyth writes. He said the repair work, which includes replacing all the drains, breaking through concrete floors, resealing showers and repouring concrete, would take between four and six weeks.

Water poured down in an area where police process and keep people in custody on Jan. 26, 2019. Note: sound has been edited to remove employee voices. 0:27

Employees who work directly under the showers were moved to another area, a Winnipeg police spokesperson said.  

"I, too, am frustrated by the pace some of the repairs are taking," Smyth writes to staff in his Jan. 16 note.

"As a police service we are a tenant in a city-owned facility. I will do my best to ensure that this work is completed as quickly as possible."

The City of Winnipeg estimates it will cost $116,000 to replace the defective shower drains. Work is expected to be completed March 5. 

Winnipeg attempted to sue contractor Caspian and engineering firm Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Ltd. or AAR, the company that designed the building in 2018 for dozens of problems at the new headquarters.

top city bureaucrat estimates it will cost more than $10 million to fix all the issues which included drainage issues and a lack of fire protection among other problems. 

About the Author

Laura Glowacki is a reporter based in Winnipeg. Before moving to Manitoba in 2015, she worked as an associate producer for CBC's Metro Morning in Toronto. Find her on Twitter @glowackiCBC and reach her by email at

with files from Bartley Kives, Caroline Barghout and Joanne Levasseur


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