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This article was published 30/3/2010 (3784 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
WINNIPEG — The province has called a 10 a.m. press conference on Wednesday at Canad Inns Stadium to confirm its plan to allow a new football stadium to rise at the University of Manitoba before David Asper’s Creswin Properties assembles the upscale mall it originally needed to fund the project.
The Selinger government, the City of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Football Club and Creswin have reached a deal that will see the province financing to kickstart a $135 million stadium and U of M recreation project that has been delayed due to Creswin’s inability to secure tenants at The Elms, a shopping mall planned for the current site of Canad Inns Stadium.
The former deal, announced in April 2009, involved a provincial contribution of $15 million for a new home for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Manitoba Bisons plus another $5 million to refurbish University Stadium and build a new fitness centre at the U of M. Ottawa also committed $15 million, but only for the amateur sport and fitness components.
The new deal would see the province reduce its commitment, in exchange for providing the financing necessary to build the stadium before The Elms get up and running. The city would act as insurance, should Creswin fail to assemble the retail project.
The deal would also make room for David Asper to assume control of the non-profit Winnipeg Football Club, provided Creswin succeeds in building The Elms and buys out the debt on the stadium.
He will get a seat on the Bomber board immediately.
The deal should allow construction on the stadium to begin this summer and allow the Bombers to begin playing in a new U of M stadium in time for the 2012 season.
Selinger said on Monday the old stadium was "very close to the end of its useful life" and requires $52 million over the next several years just to maintain it in its current state.
"At a certain point, you have to decide whether you’re going to put more money into the old car or get a new one," Selinger said. "And I think the feeling is that when it comes to the stadium, it’s maybe time to move on to a new one...There’s a recognition that the existing facility will need up to $52 million of upgrades and repairs just to keep it in operation for a decade...So the question is, if we have to put more money into a stadium, does it make sense to pour it into the old one, or get on with the new one? And I think that the general feeling is that it makes sense to try to invest in a new one that will last for another 50 years and be a modern facility that people will be proud of."
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