Investors in Winnipeg’s new football stadium are reviewing their options after costs in the project have suddenly ballooned in a report from developer Creswin Properties.
The $115 million price tag originally put forward has risen to $160 million, according to the Free Press. The new figure includes amenities that were originally thought to have been scrapped, including the canopy that would act as a noise deterrent for residents living nearby.
The 33,000-seat facility is already underway on the grounds of the University of Manitoba, where excavation began several months ago, shortly after a pompous groundbreaking ceremony by all the major players in the project, including Creswin chairman David Asper.
Fans, and taxpayers alike, aren’t in favour of having to shell out more for the company’s overrun construction costs. “Is anyone surprised by the latest stadium debacle? If I could shake my head harder it would fall off — taxpayers get shaft again,” said Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation on his Twitter page.
Stakeholders in the project, including the City of Winnipeg and Province of Manitoba, haven’t been presented with the new figures as of Friday morning. Premier Greg Selinger and Mayor Sam Katz are expected to huddle over the deal in the coming days and decide what’s next.
Jeff Fidyk of the Fort Richmond Coalition, a group against the development of the new stadium, says on June 30, the provincial government decided to change who would carry the loan. “The $90 million loan/bridge financing for building the new Bombers’ stadium is actually being taken by the University of Manitoba, not by Asper, and not by the Blue Bombers’ Football club,” Fidyk said in an e-mail.
“When you consider it will be used for only 10 games per year and we all have to drive to and from work over 200 times per year, I’m sure the people of Winnipeg would be better served by having the money used towards improving our crumbling and grid-locked city streets,” Fidyk added.
While the project will likely push forward, there is still a small chance the deal could be scrapped completely if stakeholders decide to pull out given the new figure.