Police Headquarters Cost Overruns

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Don’t you just hate it when you are right but being right means that something went drastically wrong and it is going to cost you more money?

Back on Dec. 12, 2009 I wrote a blog post  questioning the wisdom of abandoning a 45-year-old building that had just been refurbished to  purchase a 55-year-old building and refurbishing it as the headquarters  for the Winnipeg Police Service.

The following is a quote from that post:

The current plan calls for the city to develop approximately half a million square feet of space for police use at a cost of $135 million:  $30 million to purchase the building and another $105 million to do the upgrades.  There are some important unanswered questions hanging in the air.  Anyone who has restored an old building, or watched This Old House, knows that when you revive old buildings they can become money pits. Does buying and restoring a 55 year old building to replace a 45 year old building (PSB), the interior of which has been recently and extensively upgraded, make good sense from a practical business perspective?   Were other options considered?  Can this project be brought in on budget or is there a risk that this project will become a public money pit with Winnipeg taxpayers footing the bill?

It did not take long for the money pit scenario to take form.  The original cost projections of $135 million which formed the basis for approval of the project were quickly revised.  The cost projection went from $130 million to $180 million in the blink of an eye.  Whats more, no one seemed to bat an eye.  It was as if those in the know knew this was coming.  Can you say ‘bait and switch”?

The latest cost projection  puts the cost at around $200 million  and quite possibly even that number should be taken with a grain of salt.

How is it that a retired cop with limited background in real-estate and construction was able to see a potential disaster in the making and the tall foreheads at city hall, the experts in this field, did not?

What has become crystal clear is the New PSB has become a money pit and as usual,  the citizens of Winnipeg will be left holding the  bag,  again.

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4 comments on “Police Headquarters Cost Overruns

  1. Sam says:

    This is why I said a top down review of all city departments was required. I’ve seen enough shenanigans dealing with the city representatives. We need to elect common men and women with commen sense and integrity. I am tired of self serving incompetents who have insulated themselves and are incapable of doing the job. Project has gone from 135 to 200 million and that’s ok ?????

    On what plane of reality is that ok?????.

  2. Menno Zacharias says:

    Thank you for your comment Sam. Nice to see there is at least one Sam out there who is still in touch with reality and is able to see what needs to be done at City Hall.

  3. Sam says:

    You are welcome. At some point the electorate needs to take responsibility . Half don’t vote, the other half think its a team sport. Neither take the time to educate themselves. You have candidates who take the time to formulate a platform ,yet, they are ignored by the media.

    And then there is the media itself. A bunch of tweets and soundbites. Brodbecks column today raises issues that were part of a candidates platform in 06 and 2010. You didn’t hear it then.

    I think a demonstration to city hall is required. Is there the courage to show them who really is the Boss ? I’m up for it.

  4. Tom Lillyman says:

    All 3 levels of government have proven beyond doubt they are not capable or responsible enough to manage our tax dollars. To build a new football stadium for a team who has never generated enough profit to justify this expense is further proof. It also proves that even new structures become ‘money pits’ when government’s are involved. The only option is to limit the government’s access to our tax dollars by first eliminating it’s general revenue approach for the collection of our tax money. In order to minimize government’s access and waste of our tax dollars and provide some level accountability and transparency, we need to establish Purpose Driven Taxes and or have dedicated funds deposited in separate accounts for mandatory services and infrastructure. It would be a start.

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