There is an ongoing RCMP investigation about the conversion of the downtown Post Office building on Graham Avenue into Winnipeg’s main police station. There are also some serious, unproven allegations.
The Mayor is calling for the Province of Manitoba to open an inquiry. The motion was on the agenda for the Feb. 22, 2017 Council meeting. In the Mayor’s motion, he stated the inquiry should not interfere with any police investigation.
Is he asking for an inquiry that can not deal with the problem that necessitated the inquiry? Does the calling for an inquiry question the RCMP investigation?
The Mayor talks about the limited powers of the City, quoting Section 106 of the City of Winnipeg Charter. However, Section 107.1 states the City can hire external auditors. According to Section 107.5.b, these external auditors are required to report irregularities to Council. Section 107 would suggest the City has some power to correct improper procedures.
These concerns originated with the former Council’s building of four new fire halls and the police station conversion. These five buildings are now in use.
The Mayor is right to want to improve procedures. However, it must be asked how the current Council is handling the need for new police and fire facilities.
Winnipeg has 27 fire halls. Every Council, during their term, should replace or extensively remodel at least one fire hall. If we do nothing, a backlog will be created for future generations.
The proposed new North End police station is more than 10 years behind schedule and the vacant Public Safety Building is creating a safety hazard due to parts of the exterior falling down. Why is the Apr. 27, 2016 Council motion to demolish the Public “Unsafe” Building not being fast tracked?
What is happening now, Mr. Mayor, with these current problems? Have the problems of the past Council made the current Council apprehensive of taking any action?