Manitoba auditor general asks Winnipeg for records of Vimy Arena sale

The proposed Bruce Oake Recovery Centre. Global News

Manitoba’s auditor general has asked the City of Winnipeg for all of its records on the controversial sale of a piece of land.

The auditor general wants access to city records to investigate the sale of the old Vimy Arena to a non-profit organization in order to build an addictions treatment centre in St. James.

In a report posted to the City of Winnipeg website on Wednesday, Winnipeg’s Chief Corporate Services Officer Michael Jack admonishes auditor general Norm Ricard, saying he has overstepped his bounds.

“The public service’s position is that the auditor general has no authority to investigate these transactions but nevertheless is recommending that council approve granting him access to these records … in the interests of transparency and maintaining good relations with the province,” Jack wrote.

READ MORE: City committee unanimously shoots down appeal, recovery centre to move forward

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A non-profit group called the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre approached the city last year about purchasing the old Vimy Arena site for $1 to build an addictions treatment centre.

There was both opposition and support for the project among local residents, and the city went through several consultations with the public.

The sale of the land was approved last year, and in January, city council shot down an appeal on the decision.

At the time, councillors noted the province’s lack of addictions treatment in Manitoba.

READ MORE: ‘Is this a right decision? Hopefully’: U of W prof on recovery centre appeal

“Over and over, we heard about the legislation and the framework that Manitoba does not have, the government of Manitoba does not have,” Coun. Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) said.

“Much of this responsibility for implementing (addictions treatment) programs lies in the hands of other levels of government, but we feel the absence of this viscerally in Manitoba.”

Late last month, an illicit drugs task force released its recommendations to all three levels of government, and many critics noted a lack of timelines and specific detail on the recommendations as well as no recommendation for a safe consumption site.

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Because the auditor general of Manitoba is not legally entitled to the records, council approval is needed to release the reports.

The report will go before the executive policy committee on July 9.

WATCH: Bruce Oake Recovery Centre passes final roadblock

Click to play video: 'Bruce Oake Recovery Centre passes final roadblock' Bruce Oake Recovery Centre passes final roadblock
Bruce Oake Recovery Centre passes final roadblock – Feb 21, 2019

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