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Assiniboine zoo to get cash injection to cover cost overruns

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Hudson the polar bear will make his home at the Journey to Churchill exhibit at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Hudson the polar bear will make his home at the Journey to Churchill exhibit at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. Photo Store

City council's executive policy committee has approved an Assiniboine Park Conservancy request for a cash advance on next year's budget to help the non-profit corporation cover cost overruns at the Assiniboine Park Zoo's new Arctic exhibit.

At a special meeting on Wednesday morning, EPC voted ‎unanimously to approve a $4.5-million advance on the 2015 capital budget to help Assiniboine Park Zoo deal with a shortage of cash flowing from the completion of the $94.4-million Journey to Churchill exhibit.

The new exhibit, part of a broader $200-million redevelopment of Assiniboine Park, is slated to open July 3. The cost overruns are due to heating and hoarding charges incurred during the winter, park officials told the city.

EPC also voted Wednesday morning to approve a list of six road-and-bridge construction priorities that the city would like to see Ottawa fund under a new national infrastructure program.

Both these plans are expected to come before a full meeting of city council - the third-last gathering of Winnipeg's elected officials before this fall's general election.

The meeting will see a debate over $590 million in funding to complete the second phase of the Southwest Transitway and widen the Pembina underpass at Jubilee Avenue.

Councillors are also expected to debate North Kildonan Coun. Jeff Browaty's proposal to hold a fall plebiscite over the transitway funding.

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