A special closed door meeting has been called at Winnipeg City Hall over a controversial land deal.
Mayor Brian Bowman and some councillors are meeting this afternoon to go over a proposed deal to spend $20-million on a parcel of Manitoba Hydro-owned land needed for phase two of rapid transit.
City staff thought they had a deal with Hydro to get the land for $4.6-million, but they claim Hydro backed out on that deal.
Hydro had the land re-assessed and their value skyrocketed.
City staff say the negotiated middle ground of $20-million is the best deal they can get now and would still fit within the rapid transit budget.
Some councillors have expressed anger over the amount of money involved. Today’s meeting has been called for them to get more information from city staff.
“I think it’s wrong. They’re weren’t operating in good faith,” explains St. Charles councillor Shawn Dobson. “Waiting until the eleventh hour, so to speak, when we really have to start our construction right now, waiting that long is not right.”
It’s unclear if the city would consider backing out of the deal. Mayor Brian Bowman has supported signing off, saying backing out on the deals would cause delays to the project. Pre-construction is supposed to start this summer.
Manitoba Hydro’s new board is also meeting today. It’s possible they will vote to rubber stamp their side of the deal.
The proposed deal is supposed to head to city council for a final vote on Wednesday.