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Asper out of $190M stadium deal

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WINNIPEG — The deal to complete Winnipeg’s new stadium must be signed by Wednesday to ensure the cost is locked in at $190 million, says Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz.

The University of Manitoba and Winnipeg Football Club boards have two days to agree to a stadium-building plan that will see the province front most of the construction costs on the 33,000-seat stadium at the university’s Fort Garry campus.

This afternoon, city councillors were briefed on the deal at a closed-door council seminar. Following the meeting, Katz told reporters what the proposed deal will involve.

As previously announced, the province will provide a $15 million grant and front the majority of the construction costs. The City of Winnipeg will contribute $7.5 million from the proceeds of the sale of the existing stadium at Polo Park toward the project and also contribute another $2.5 million on services in kind – mainly development fees – as well as traffic improvements in Fort Richmond and University Heights to satisfy residents who live near the proposed stadium, the mayor said.

Future property taxes from new residential and commercial developments at the Canad Inns Stadium site will be used to pay back $75 million of the provincial loan. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will be responsible for $85 million of the loan payback over four decades, Katz said.

Creswin Properties will no longer be part of the deal and will be compensated to the tune of $4 million for engineering, design and other work on the project, Katz said. That figure is part of the $190 million tab, Katz said. Creswin wanted $6 million, Katz said.

The deal must be completed by Wednesday, which is the day when the guaranteed construction prices expire, Katz said.

Council is expected to vote on the deal on Wednesday. So far, only Daniel McIntyre Coun. Harvey Smith said he may vote against the plan.

Couns. Dan Vandal (St. Boniface) and Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge) said the deal is good for the city, even though it’s unfortunate there is no private-sector involvement.

Bomber board chairman Bill Watchorn said he is optimistic the deal will be completed.

Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation denounced the deal.

History

Updated on Monday, December 13, 2010 at 9:55 AM CST: Announcement called off.

10:11 AM: Adds more details.

10:22 AM: Tweaks headline.

1:57 PM: Story rewritten after seminar.

2:04 PM: Updates dollar figures.

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