A City of Winnipeg-owned parkade is facing a multimillion-dollar bill that could alter its future.
It could cost as much as $55 million to repair and maintain the Millennium Library parking structure over the next decade, sparking plans for a feasibility study on whether or not it makes sense to complete the repairs.
An engineer assessed the parkade this year, coming to that very early cost estimate for the work. Since the parkade is not expected to generate enough revenue in 10 years to cover such a tab, the city plans to hire a consultant to help it decide what to do about the facility.
"Options that will be reviewed include undertaking all repairs and maintenance so the parkade remains operational, building a new parkade, and the viability of closing or selling the facility," city spokesman Kalen Qually said Monday in an emailed statement.
An estimated $6.1 million worth of short-term repairs are needed at the parkade, due to a deteriorating structural slab; longer-term repairs are needed to update mechanical and electrical systems, according to a public service report.
However, drivers who opt to park at Millennium won’t be at risk, said Qually.
"There is no immediate safety concern with the Millennium Library parkade and it remains safe for continued use. Immediate repairs are being addressed and will be completed by the end of 2021."
A public service report says fixing a structural slab at the facility should be completed by April 2022 or "no later than April 2024."
The city will have to consider how profitable the parkade will be once the threat of COVID-19 finally ends to help determine its next steps, said Coun. Jeff Browaty, chairman of council’s innovation and economic development committee.
"During the pandemic, there’s been a softening of parking demand… (so) we’re trying to figure that out long term."
The Winnipeg Parking Authority budget has already taken a substantial pandemic hit, leading it to predict it will end the year with a net loss of $3 million. That’s largely due to free one-hour parking programs and a sharp decline in the number of drivers visiting city parking meters, which are located in the downtown, Exchange District and West End areas.
Meanwhile, the city is poised to redirect $1.5 million saved through previously cancelled innovation and technology projects to its general capital budget.
While that will prevent the savings from funding other innovation efforts, Browaty said the city will still devote another $1.5 million of funding over the next two years to innovation.
"It’s not so much we’re saying no to more projects or better projects… We’re just trying to be more realistic with the funds that are needed," he said.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.