Councillor 'inflamed' talks on new cop shop at stadium site, Winnipeg police chief says

The chief of police is criticizing a Winnipeg councillor who confirmed the force is considering building a new station on the home field of the North Winnipeg Nomads football club.

Home of Nomads at Old Exhibition Grounds on McPhillips Street eyed as favoured site for North District station

The North Winnipeg Nomads senior girls shut out the St. James Rods on Thursday night. Winnipeg police are considering building a new station on the Nomads' home field. (Travis Golby/CBC)

The chief of police is criticizing a Winnipeg city councillor who confirmed the force is considering building a new station on the home field of the North Winnipeg Nomads football club.

"Before we could even begin on this consultation process, it was circumvented by unfortunate and disappointing remarks by Coun. Ross Eadie that needlessly inflamed the situation," Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth said in a statement on Friday.

Eadie told CBC News Thursday that the city has zeroed in on the Charlie Krupp Stadium, located at the Old Exhibition Grounds on McPhillips Street, as the preferred site for the new North District police office.

On Friday, he said he was glad the chief publicly criticized him.

"I was very concerned and upset because I know there's no money in the budget to build a new stadium," Eadie said. "That's why I spoke up to the mayor and said, 'We need to deal with this, this is inappropriate, and the Old Exhibition Grounds is not the best site.'"

There are other good sites to build at Carruthers Avenue and Main Street, or on Redwood Avenue, Eadie says. 

"Those sites are just fine, too. Pay a little extra — big deal."

The city has committed $23.1 million to build the new station, which would replace the old District 3 building on Hartford Avenue in West Kildonan.

Eadie said the site appeals to the Winnipeg Police Service given its access to a main thoroughfare in McPhillips.

If the project were to move forward, it could potentially displace the Nomads and the club's 300 amateur athletes, who use the field.

Winnipeg Police Service Chief Danny Smyth promises there will be consultation before a final decision is reached on the site for a new police station. (CBC)

Smyth said the land is larger than the force requires and local Coun. Mike Pagtakhan had begun touching base with affected parties before Eadie spoke to media.

"The intent was to cause the least amount of disruption as possible," Smyth said. "All stakeholders have my word that before any decision is reached, their voices will be heard, and their concerns taken into consideration."

Pagtakhan said he thinks he would've done the same thing if he were in Eadie's position.

He met with members of the Nomads Thursday night to discuss the potential of a new police office.

"I told them that we need to keep an open mind and to work with the Winnipeg Police Service and the City of Winnipeg moving forward," Pagtakhan said.

"The Winnipeg Police Service, they want to gather information in terms of the needs of these organizations and they want to hear their concerns, if they have any."

Mayor Brian Bowman refused to weigh in but said he respects the views of Eadie and Smyth.  

With files from Bartley Kives