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Manitoba Hydro Approves Sale of BRT Land for $19M

June 14, 2016 8:36 AM | News

Harkness Rapid Transit station

The Harkness Rapid Transit station (STAN MILOSEVIC / CHRISD.CA FILE)

WINNIPEG — The second phase of bus rapid transit is one step closer to being a done deal.

Manitoba Hydro has approved the sale of 16 acres of Crown land to the City of Winnipeg to complete the transit corridor south to the University of Manitoba. If approved by city council on Wednesday — for the asking price of $19 million — construction would begin this summer.

Hydro says the price could drop to $11.7 million if the city were to transfer roads and road right of ways within the corridor to Manitoba Hydro within 18 months.

Some city councillors were on the fence Monday about whether to approve the deal given the inflated cost. Hydro received a second assessment estimate for the land, which skyrocketed the projected cost of the property.

“Though Hydro does not ordinarily comment publicly on commercial negotiations, in this unique circumstance we felt it appropriate to address the matter directly,” said Manitoba Hydro-Electric board chair Sanford Riley.

“The board carefully reviewed both the terms of the transaction, and the conduct of the negotiations, and while we recognize commercial transactions of this nature are often difficult to achieve — which may explain the reaction in the media to the results — we are satisfied that the outcome is a product of good faith negotiations.”

Hydro president and CEO Kelvin Shepherd says the utility will have to relocate underground pipelines and cables between Jubilee Avenue and the University of Manitoba. Some overhead electrical distribution lines will also have to be relocated. The cost of the relocation work hasn’t been determined.

“As always, we will continue to be reasonable and fair in our dealings with the city,” Shepherd said.