WINNIPEG – It’s the city’s biggest, most expensive fire hall, but dig deeper and it reveals a mismanaged project, over budget and according to traffic engineers a “serious safety concern.”
“Stantec had they been engaged to simply recommend a location, this according to them would not be the one they recommend,” said Acting Chief Administrative Officer with the City of Winnipeg, Michael Jack.
Fire station 11 was built in 2013 on the cloverleaf on Portage Avenue and Route 90. A traffic study done in 2011 by Stantec Consulting clearly expressed safety concerns due to the high traffic volume in the area.
“Based on industry accepted design standards, under normal circumstances development of any kind within an interchange would not be recommended.
The 101 page report wasn’t made public despite repeated requests by councillors and critics to see it, until Tuesday.
“It’s absolutely consistent to Mayor Brian Bowman’s pledges to create a more open and accessible government,” said Jack.
The report and the safety concerns it raises has some councillors wishing they had seen it before approving the project. It was a project that ballooned from $4.2 million to $6.5 million.
“The more information we can have as councillors to debate capital projects is always a good thing,” said Point Douglas Councillor Mike Pagtakhan.
“Part of the poor management was not sharing information and having a fully informed council,” said Fort Rouge Councillor Jenny Gerbasi.
City officials say the location is safe and concerns have been addressed, including the installation of traffic lights. They maintain the fire hall is in a ideal location.
“It is really a much more advantageous location not only from a response time perspective but also from a public safety perspective,” said Fire and Paramedic Service Chief John Lane.
It was hoped this location would help reduce emergency response times from its previous hall on Barry Street. But according to the city, the response time hasn’t changed. It’s still at 5.9 minutes.
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