September 11, 2017 7:58 pm

Cost for Winnipeg walkway nearly doubled

An artist's rendering of what the promenade walkway would look like.

City of Winnipeg / Supplied

The City of Winnipeg approved an almost 100 per cent increase in funding needed for a multi-million dollar riverside promenade Monday.

Councilors gave the green light to $4.8 million dollars more that will go into the construction needed to convert a stretch along the Tache Avenue side of the Red River into a pedestrian walkway.

Winnipeg city council approved a $5.188 million price tag in 2016.

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On Monday, the added cost was chalked up to additional road construction, street lighting improvements, engineering work, a contingency allowance, and drastic riverbank stabilization efforts.

It was passed at City Hall by a tie vote — meaning it will proceed to the mayor’s Executive Policy Committee without recommendation for the group to decide whether or not to green-light construction.

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The city said the price discrepancies are due to “a conceptual…estimate of construction costs.”

“This could be beautiful, but this also could be an absolute nightmare in terms of the view and what this will turn the riverbank into,” Russ Wyatt, Winnipeg City Councillor said on Monday.

“It seems like a lot of money to build basically a glorified crows nest up in the air.”

The completed project, which has been in the works for three years, would see the construction of a treetop lookout and sidewalk expansion along the Red River.

The original estimates of the promenade were considered ‘level 4’, meaning the price could potentially vary from 30 per cent less needed funding to 60 per cent more. Monday’s approval is labeled as ‘level 2’, so the $10 million dollar price tag could change to 10 per cent less or up to 20 per cent more.

Design work is currently ongoing and the city said they hope construction will start this winter while the riverbanks are low.

The rough timeline for the promenade will see the walkways in place by autumn of 2018.

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