Ernst & Young Hired to Probe Fire-Hall Project
Kives, Bartley, Winnipeg Free Press
Team begins investigation Monday
The external review into Winnipeg's fire-paramedic station replacement program will begin on Monday when a team of investigators from Ontario will begin picking apart the beleaguered project.
The accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP has been awarded a $230,000 contract to review the way the City of Winnipeg built new stations in Sage Creek, Charleswood, River Heights and St. James, the city's materials management website says.
The issue has preoccupied city hall for three months due to councillors' anger over the construction of the new River Heights station on private land, a proposed swap of this property for three parcels of city-owned land and cost overruns at the St. James station, among other concerns.
The review will cover the initial impetus for building the new stations, the way contracts were awarded, the value of the work for taxpayers and all processes, controls and policies involved in the program. Ernst & Young will also be asked to make recommendations and suggest disciplinary action, if needed.
Charleswood-Tuxedo Coun. Paula Havixbeck said she looks forward to learning answers to questions senior city officials have not answered about the financial aspects of the program, whose price tag has risen to $17.8 million from $15.3 million.
"They explained $62,000 in cost overruns (at the Sage Creek station) last June better than they did the whole $17-million program," Havixbeck said. "The real work is just beginning and finally we'll get some answers. …