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Stadium plan will be ready for council meeting: premier

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WINNIPEG —  Premier Greg Selinger says there will be a stadium deal in place for city council to vote on at its Dec. 15 meeting.

The premier made the comments to reporters outside the legislature this afternoon.

"We think that there’s been a lot of excellent work been done by everybody, which should allow it to get to that stage," Selinger said of the impending announcement. "People would like to bring closure to the issue ... and people feel that they’re very close to having that situation in hand now," he said.

Selinger said the parties are working towards a guaranteed maximum price for the stadium.

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz suggested earlier today that the deal to complete the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ new stadium at the University of Manitoba must be completed over the next few days

Speaking to reporters outside his office, Katz said the final deal must be completed soon in order to come before city council on Dec. 15. If that does not happen, Katz said it would take another six weeks for council to scrutinize a plan to complete the stadium project. Council could hold a special meeting to consider a plan if all parties can not wait until the first scheduled meeting of 2011, which is slated for Jan. 26.

The city, province, Winnipeg Football Club, university and David Asper’s Creswin Properties have been in talks for months about a way to complete a project originally pegged at $115 million but now expected to cost $200 million.

The outstanding issues include nailing down a cost for the project, figuring out who pays for it, determining whether the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have a business plan that would allow the club to sustain more of the stadium-building debt and determining what role – if any – Creswin will play in the completion of the project. Currently the plan calls for a 33,000-seat stadium to rise at the northwest corner of Chancellor Matheson Road and University Crescent.

Katz said the city will not sign on to the deal without a guaranteed maximum price. He also said he is still looking over the Bombers’ business plan, noting he has expertise in the professional sports world. Katz is the majority owner of the Winnipeg Goldeyes.

The mayor said he would not divulge any other sticking points in the deal, suggesting the public would know soon enough – possibly as soon as Friday.

It is widely expected Creswin will be out of the project and will be compensated for expenses such as planning and engineering costs.

History

Updated on Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at 5:40 PM CST: Adds comment from Premier Selinger.

5:41 PM: Adds comment from Premier Selinger.

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