Winnipeg city council debates real estate audit
WINNIPEG — A week after the audit looking into city hall real estate transactions was put before them, councillors are debating the findings on the floor of council.
The full council meeting was originally scheduled for last week but councillors wanted more time to read over the nearly 200 pages.
The transactions the audit looked at include the purchase of a downtown Canada Post building and its conversion into police headquarters, dealings around Parcel Four at the edge of The Forks and the sale of the Winnipeg Square parkade and Canad Inns Stadium site.
In the case of the police headquarters, the audit revealed there was no appraisal for the building and the city never looked at any other locations to house officers.
Also among the findings, when councillors were considering selling Parcel Four at The Forks to private investors to build a water park, they were told the property was worth $5.9 million. They were never told about another $10-million appraisal.
Last week Mayor Sam Katz was critical of the audit’s findings, saying it was a report instead.
The mayor said despite the request for an audit, this is nothing more than a review.
“When they start using the word opinion, you don’t have opinions in an audit,” said Katz. “An audit is done on factual based information and real evidence.”
Both city auditors and the team that did the audit, EY, defended their findings at the meeting.
“This was an audit,” said EY’s Mark Single as he address councillors. “We stand by our methodology and approach.”
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