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Councillors to meet privately on water-park plans

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City councillors will meet behind closed doors Wednesday to learn more about the latest city plan to devote public funds to a private water park.

All members of council have been invited to hear details about a $7-million grant toward the construction of a hotel and water park at the southwest corner of Waterfront Drive and William Stephenson Way, near The Forks.

The developer is reputed to be Alberta’s Canalta hotel chain, working with a Winnipeg partner.

The city first offered the $7-million grant in 2008, when a previous plan to spend $9 million on Kildonan Park pool improvements was amended. The city wound up spending $2.8 million at Kildonan Park and offering a grant toward the construction of a private water park that would be accessible to the public.

Winnipeg’s Canad Inns hotel chain won that grant in June 2008, but the city rescinded the offer in early 2009 after no progress was made on a Polo Park hotel expansion.

A second search for a public partner in 2009 resulted in a plan to build a $64-million luxury hotel and water park near The Forks. Councillors who attended a closed-door seminar that year were told a private developer planned to offer the city $7.7 million for the land at Waterfront Drive and William Stephenson Way. But a report did not come forward to city council.

Mayor Sam Katz has said a report will come forward to council this year about the latest plan.

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