“I thought it would be unfortunate to go that (expropriation) route because it’s going to be a heavy expense,” Katz said, adding the administration says it’s been unable to resolve the issue with Shindico.
Winnipeg’s Mayor has indicated it would be ‘unfortunate’ if we went the route of expropriating the land from Shindico. What is happening at City Hall is ‘unfortunate’. If we simply take a look at the one aspect of the Fire Hall fiasco of building a ‘Fire Hall’ on land the city doesn’t own…that is unfortunate to say the least. Who really builds on land they don’t own, beside our city I guess. The Fire Hall is built and now we have to buy the land the ‘Fire Hall’ is built on from the company who built the Fire Hall. That is unfortunate. Now the same developer who built the ‘Fire Hall’ on land they own, also want to be compensated for the loss of value of the land adjacent to the Fire Hall which they also own.
The evidence related to the Fire Hall, Police Headquarters, the ‘Pumphouse’, and ‘The Mere Hotel’ to name a few recent projects point to a system that is broken. Preferential treatment, no tendering process, changing of by-laws, lack of transparency and a lack of a clear plan and vision for the City of Winnipeg. Individuals who stand up and try to point out the clear lack of process and accountability of these projects are often painted as against development or called a NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard). Perhaps it is time we all become a NIMBY and not allow these types of decisions and lack of process and vision happen in our backyard. We all need to stand-up and say ‘Not in My Back Yard’!!
City council has approved a plan to add new conflict of interest rules for department heads and the city’s four statutory officers. A conflict of interest refers to a situation where a person’s public decisions are improperly influenced by his private affiliations or interests. The ‘Conflict of Interest’ policy needs to also include or be applied to our political leaders as well. Traditionally a political leader would need to appoint someone independent to run their business affairs where they take on the role of a civic leader. After all the Mayor and councilors primary responsibility is to make decisions in the best interests of the City of Winnipeg and when the voters perceive favoritism is given to former or current business partners the confidence in our Municipal Government is affected. The Audit of the Fire Hall clearly brings into question how decisions are made.
The report indicates the contracts to build four new fire stations did not face a competitive bid process.
The openness, fairness and transparency of the procurement process used to contract for the construction of the four stations is in question. For the two attempted (requests for proposal’s) Shindico had information not available to other bidders,”
Published Monday, October 21, 2013
Looking a little deeper into the audit it also indicates: The audit said Sheegl approved the most controversial part of the project – a land swap deal that saw a new station built on land on Taylor Avenue owned by Shindico, and not the city. (CTV Winnipeg
Published Monday, October 21, 2013)
This is the same Sheegl, Phil Sheegl, who just a few days ago returned to Winnipeg from Phoenix on the same flight as our Mayor. Clearly as the Mayor indicates this does not indicate there was any ‘conflict of interest’ but it certainly once again taints the perceptions of voters.
At the time of the audit our Mayor indicated he didn’t have any clear answer to how this happened. “I would never ever dream we would build a fire hall on land we did not own,” said Katz. (CTV Winnipeg Published Monday, October 21, 2013) No doubt as he stated it is unfortunate we now are in position to buy land on a site we have built a ‘Fire Hall’ and we have an audit that puts in to question the entire process. Unfortunate is perhaps an understatement.
Those of us in Winnipeg who have been paying attention to all the apparent mismanagement at City Hall are left to wonder how much longer we are going to continue to ignore those telling us ‘The Emperor has No Clothes.’