WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Public Service is asking that more money than originally planned be spent on the demolition of the Public Safety Building due to the discovery of asbestos, though it is still within the approved budget.

According to a city report, council initially approved a contract of nearly $6.8 million for the demolition of the building and the adjacent car park to Rakowski Cartage & Wrecking Ltd. It says the tender identified all of the known, pre-existing asbestos conditions, but more have now been discovered.

The public service recommends that the property and development committee approve $1.4 million to get rid of it.

The report notes the city initially predicted the demolition would cost $9.7 million, so the $6.8 million contract saved it $2.9 million. The public service recommended the savings be retained as a contingency for any costs that would arise during the demolition. Therefore, the report says, there “is sufficient existing funding available for the project to proceed with this over-expenditure.”

According to the public service, the  funding is needed due to the labour costs that come with removing the asbestos, because it’s in locations that need manual demolition as opposed to mechanical. 

“Due to the more labour intensive construction methodology, the interior demolition will take longer which also impacts the overall project schedule,” the report says, noting there will also be incremental costs related to doing the work during the cold weather.

The public service is also asking for an extra 90 days for the demolition, meaning the project would be completed by the end of September.

The matter will go before the property and development committee on March 2. 

Council previously approved a new mixed-use development called Market Lands to be built at the site of the Public Safety Building in the Exchange District. This development is set to include shops, a creative hub, affordable housing and a private sector area with offices.