Several city councilors are calling for a renewed public inquiry into the controversial downtown Winnipeg Police Department project after it was revealed that an audit draft that blames more cost overruns on police was changed before it was submitted.
At the same time, Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth says his department should not be held responsible for problems with the construction budget caused by changes to design plans.
count. Scott Gillingham (St James), who is currently running for mayor, admitted he was “concerned” about the audit changes. This is another reason for the province to convene a public inquiry, he said.
“An investigation will provide Winnipeggers with the facts about the project — and Winnipeggers deserve to know the facts about every aspect of the project,” Gillingham said Friday.
“This project was one of the reasons I called for a Chief Construction Officer (City of Winnipeg)… I’m confident that a role… would report to the council, would help the council understand how projects are going and what change orders there are.” gives demand.”
Earlier this week, the free press leaked an unpublished draft of the audit report regarding cost overruns at the downtown police department building that was released in 2014.
The differences between the two documents show that changes were made that limited the police service’s exposure to the skyrocketing construction costs of the inflated budget.
count. Markus Chambers (St. Norbert-Seine River), chairman of the Winnipeg Police Board, said it is “an issue and something that definitely needs to be addressed and addressed in a way that it doesn’t pull money from the police budget and from serving the citizens.” of Winnipeg should be dedicated.
“It’s the details that matter — the devil is in the details — how it all unfolded … and the accountability that comes with it.”
count. Jeff Browaty (North Kilodonan) said it’s not uncommon for changes to be made from one draft to a final audit, but “I’m very curious to know what the rationale was for removing from one version to another. That requires an explanation.”
count. Kevin Klein (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood) said he has asked several times for more information about the change orders.
“The shooting range was originally going to be on the roof and they moved it to Wilkes behind the perimeter and it was all added as a change order,” Klein said. “I even asked for an outside forensic review to look at it all.”
On the other side Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) doesn’t think a public inquiry is necessary.
“It’s already in court on a number of counts,” Mayes said, citing various lawsuits filed against the main construction company, the city’s former chief administrative officer and others. “I don’t know if we need a public inquiry.”
count. Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) said it was normal for there to be changes between the draft and final exams.
“It’s not shameful,” Rollins said. “It’s really normal to ask management for reflection and things change. The revisions were at the discretion of the auditor, and in this case it is KPMG.”
On Friday, after a Winnipeg Police Board meeting, Smyth told reporters he didn’t believe the cost overruns were the fault of the police.
“We were involved with the designers when the building was adapted for the police service,” Smyth said.
“All of this has been reported in the past. The headquarters’ design plans were not complete when they began the project… We had control over some of the changes that resulted because they were not incorporated into the design process.” .
“I don’t think it should come as a surprise to anyone that the police were part of the project – we certainly weren’t the decision makers.”
Asked how the audit relieves the police service of the skyrocketing cost of the building but the draft report doesn’t, Smyth said all audits go through a revision process.
“Anyone who’s hired a consultant knows you get drafts of things and want to make sure they reflect exactly what they’ve been reviewing. This idea of comparing a draft with a final report is unfair in my opinion. I would question all of that.” You must show me your draft reports before proceeding to the final report.”
Smyth said the police service would have no problem if an investigation was called.
“I remind everyone: we are the tenants in this building,” he said. “We didn’t build it. We didn’t design it. We pay the rent for it and we also pay the debt for it.”
Kevin Rollason is one of the Winnipeg Free Press’s more versatile reporters. Whether it’s City Hall, the courts, or general news reporting, Rollason can be trusted not only to answer the 5 Ws – who, what, when, where, and why – but to do so in an interesting and accessible way for readers does .
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