Eager for cash to pay for a pricey new police station, the City of Winnipeg’s lawyers have set to work figuring out how they can sell a chunk of high-value downtown property without violating the terms of the Métis pioneers who gave it to them.
The land in question — signed over to Winnipeg by the influential Ross family in 1875 — is currently home to the city’s police headquarters, a crumbling 1960s-era structure due to be vacated next year.
Originally, city officials planned to declare the existing station “surplus” as soon as it was vacated, presumably to sell it and put the proceeds toward paying off the exorbitant cost of a new headquarters. However, under the 19th century covenant revealed last week, such a sale would immediately forfeit all proceeds to the Ross’ scattered descendants.
“The [Ross Family] stipulated it must remain in public use, otherwise it would…
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