WINNIPEG – After five decades, the Public Safety Building has closed its doors for good.
The former police headquarters has officially been shut down as police held a ceremony today marking its closure.
The building already closed to the public two weeks ago and police have moved into their new, $214-million headquarters.
The closure of the old building is a tad bittersweet to those who spent many years there.
“I was one of the first ones in the building when it opened in the 1960’s. I was a young detective working in the old Rupert Street station,” explains Herb Stephen, chief of police from 1984-92. “We had to take all our stuff in a cardboard box and walk down the street and through the front door. I was here for the opening and now I’m here for the closing.”
The future of the building is still up in the air: the city wants to demolish it but heritage organizations are fighting to save it. If it were up to Stephen, the building would stay.
“It’s sad to see it close but it’d be even sadder to see them tearing it down. They should be able to use a building like this for something,” Stephen says. “Unfortunately, it would cost a lot of money to get it back into working shape for anybody to move into it. It’s hard to say what they could use it for, but it is kind of a part of our history so it’s a shame to see it go.”
The city says refurbishing the building simply wouldn’t be worth the money.
Former police chiefs Ewatski, McCaskill here to officially shut down Public Safety Building. Chief Clunis also here. pic.twitter.com/pe14tTjtOM
— 680 CJOB (@680CJOB) July 5, 2016