Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Stadium fumbles

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Can someone please explain why Investors Group Field was built with no way for fans to get on and off the field? And how did Winnipeg end up with the only press box in the CFL that is exposed to the elements?

These problems, and other glitches, have been or are being fixed, but the full cost of the overruns are apparently a state secret. The province and city aren't talking, and neither is the Blue Bombers board, or BBB Stadium Inc., the corporate entity created to build the stadium.

All that's known for sure is the facility was supposed to cost $190 million (and not a cent more), but the true cost is $200 million and rising.

The $350,000 cost of enclosing the press box is being covered by corporate sponsors, but the tab for the other repairs is not being disclosed. In fact, no one will even provide a list of the other improvements and repairs that are being planned.

A private company can behave this way, but the Blue Bombers and the stadium are public assets, supported by taxpayers.

The problem with secrecy is it leads to fears that the truth is embarrassing, or worse.

The sealing of lips might be justified if the stadium's building woes are to be the subject of a courtroom battle, but if that's the case, someone should say so.

Otherwise, the managers of the community-owned facility should provide a full accounting, including an answer as to why access to the field for fans was not included in the building plans. And did someone really forget to enclose the press box, or were they not aware a proper media room was a condition for staging the Grey Cup?

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Gerald Flood, Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 14, 2013 A14

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