The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will spend the entire 2012 season in Canad Inns Stadium after continuous weather delays has made moving into Investors Group Field by September implausible.
“It is with great disappointment that we are making this announcement today, however we feel it is in the best interest of our fans, sponsors and entire organization to come to this decision,” Blue Bombers president and CEO Garth Buchko said in a statement on Friday.
“The reality is that unpredictable weather at a critical stage of construction, has made it difficult to pin down the ultimate completion date. Endeavoring to accelerate work to overcome weather disruptions, beyond what is reasonable and safe, will only create further delays along the way, potentially compromising worker safety and the ultimate fan experience.”
The Blue Bombers have previously admitted construction delays due to weather, which forced the football club to push back its July opening to mid-September. During a media photo-op on June 4, a representative from Stuart-Olson Construction Dominion said weather delays had pushed the project back even further.
“To open Investors Group Field prior to a state of total completion would not be fair to our fans as their first experience must be a positive one,” Buchko went on to say. “The citizens of our city and province have waited a long time for a new stadium and it will be well worth the wait to have it opened properly. This decision will most importantly provide stability and certainty for our loyal and passionate fans, the football team and the entire Blue Bomber organization.”
Construction was hit with an unexpected delay earlier this week when crews at the University of Manitoba couldn’t use one of the main cranes on site. Construction sources say crows had built a nest on top of a crane, which had to be removed by conservation officials.
Buchko said during an afternoon news conference that the Manitoba Bisons football team have been offered Canad Inns Stadium rent free to play their games this season. The Bisons were supposed to play at Investors Group Field once the Bombers moved in.
Updated at 2:30 p.m.