December 10, 2019

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New stadium deal being negotiated

Construction continued on the new Winnipeg Blue Bombers stadium at the University of Manitoba last month. The cost will only go up.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES

Construction continued on the new Winnipeg Blue Bombers stadium at the University of Manitoba last month. The cost will only go up.

WINNIPEG - All of the parties involved in the University of Manitoba football stadium will decide within the next five days how to complete the stadium.

Premier Greg Selinger, Mayor Sam Katz and Creswin Properties chairman David Asper all said this morning they will meet in the coming days to settle, once and for all, who will pay for a project now expected to cost $160 million — and whether Creswin will remain part of the deal.

The three parties, as well as the Winnipeg Football Club, the university and Ottawa, signed a deal in April to build a $115-million stadium and also make $22.5 million worth of recreation improvements at the U of M. The deal called for Creswin to cover any cost overruns on the stadium side, but there has been disagreement about what that entails.

All parties say they are committed to completing the stadium but it remains unclear who will undertake the job.

This morning, Asper said there are only two general options on the table — a new deal involving his company or a purely government-funded option.

"Sooner or later, somebody has to bite the bullet and get it done," he said in an interview.

Excavation work is underway at the stadium and the piles will soon be laid, Asper said. The building is under construction, he added.

Premier Greg Selinger agreed.

"The project has to be done," Selinger said this morning, in an interview at Canad Inns Polo Park after addressing a conference on Winnipeg poverty.

He said that he, Katz and Asper and the Blue Bombers will sit down over the next three or four days to discuss how to address the cost overruns.

Asked if he expects the stadium project to be scaled back, he said: "No, people want a quality facility."

That has been made clear to the partners, and that's what the province wants, he said.

"It is a very important project for the city. It's one of our key amenities."

Later this morning, Katz told reporters it's too soon to speculate what will happen.

He said the province and the city would prefer to complete the deal with a private-sector partner.

He refused to rule out spending more money on the project and declined to speculate about using proceeds from the sale of the existing Canad Inns Stadium site to someone other than Creswin.

The city already needs to spend $10 million on traffic improvements in the Polo Park area, Katz said.

Any new stadium deal would come before council, he said.

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History

Updated on Friday, November 5, 2010 at 11:23 AM CDT: Tweaks wording.

12:15 PM: Adds Sam Katz's remarks.

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