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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Construction firm slaps lien on stadium

Company claims it's owed $1.9 million

Posted: 01/10/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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John Woods / the canadian press files
The city�s new football stadium, Investors Group Field in Fort Garry, opened a year late at a cost of almost $204 million.

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John Woods / the canadian press files The city�s new football stadium, Investors Group Field in Fort Garry, opened a year late at a cost of almost $204 million.

The construction company that built Investors Group Field is still waiting to be paid for $1.9 million worth of work on Winnipeg's new football stadium.

Stuart Olson Dominion Construction has placed a $1.9-million lien against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' 33,500-seat home, regional vice-president Richard Graumann said Thursday in a statement.

Investors Group Field opened at the University of Manitoba's Fort Garry campus in 2013 at a total cost of almost $204 million.

Funding was in place to cover $200 million of the tab, thanks to $30 million worth of government grants and $170 million worth of loans. But almost $4 million worth of additional costs emerged due to changes to the stadium design as well as deficiencies such as an absence of an enclosed press box.

The responsibility for the cost overruns was a matter of dispute between the four stakeholders in the construction of the stadium -- the city, province, football club and university -- who are represented by a stadium-building organization called BBB Stadium Inc.

In November, Stuart Olson Dominion refused to conduct warranty and other work on the structure for four days due to what Graumann described as a "funding shortfall" and "payment arrears" from BBB Stadium in a letter to stadium subcontractors.

In the letter, Graumann asked subcontractors to support "the unusual but necessary action," which ended after discussions about the arrears resumed.

Those discussions are still taking place, said Matt Williamson, spokesman for Premier Greg Selinger. The city, however, has no intention of contributing anything further to Investors Group Field.

"The city has fulfilled its financial commitment to the stadium project," said Rhea Yates, spokeswoman for Mayor Sam Katz.

Winnipeg Football Club spokeswoman Kim Babij-Gessell deferred all comment to BBB Stadium and its chairman Andrew Konowalchuk, a U of M vice-president.

He said the stakeholders are going through a "laundry list" of construction reports in an effort to resolve the issue with Stuart Olson Dominion.

"It's just taking some time," he said. "In the meantime, there's no impact to building operations or events we would hold there."

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 10, 2014 B3

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