Auditor general asks City for records into Vimy Arena sale for addictions treatment centre

Manitoba’s auditor general has asked the City for all its records on the controversial sale of a piece of land.The auditor general wants access to city records to investigate the sale of the old Vimy Arena to a non-profit organization in order to build an addictions treatment centre in St. James. (CHECK)In a report posted to the City of Winnipeg website Wednesday, Chief Corporate Services Officer Michael Jack admonishes Auditor General Norm Ricard for overstepping his bounds.Story continues below

“The Public Service’s position is that the Auditor General has no authority to investigate these transactions,” writes Jack, “but nevertheless is recommending that Council approve granting him access to these records … in the interests of transparency and maintaining good relations with the Province.”READ MORE: City committee unanimously shoots down appeal, recovery centre to move forwardA non-profit group called the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre approached the city last year about purchasing the old Vimy Arena site for $1 to build an addictions treatment centre.Neighbourhood opposition and support were mixed, and the city went through several consultations with residents.The sale of the land was approved last year, and in January, city council shot down an appeal on the decision.At the time, councillors noted the Province’s lack of addictions treatment in Manitoba.READ MORE: ‘Is this a right decision? Hopefully’: U of W prof on recovery centre appeal“Over and over we heard about the legislation and the framework that Manitoba does not have, the government of Manitoba does not have,” Coun. Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) said.“Much of this responsibility for implementing (addictions treatment) programs lies in the hands of other levels of government, but we feel the absence of this viscerally in Manitoba.”Late last month, an illicit drugs task force released their recommendations to all three levels of Government, and many critics noted a lack of timelines and specifics on the recommendations and no recommendation for a safe consumption site.Because the Auditor General of Manitoba is not legally entitled to the records, council approval is needed to release the reports.The report will go before Executive Policy Committee July 9.WATCH: Bruce Oake Recovery Centre passes final roadblock