Where's the study?: Katz

ROSS ROMANIUK -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:06 AM ET

A study on stadium options for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was partly paid for by taxpayers, so they should see those options before the report gathers dust.

That suggestion came yesterday from Mayor Sam Katz, who insisted it's up to the CFL franchise's directors, if anyone, to lay out the feasibility probe's report for the public's inquiring eyes.

"If they don't release it I guess the question is, 'Why won't you release it?' And I don't know what the answer to that is," Katz told the Sun yesterday.

"If it was within my power, I'd gladly give you a copy of it. It's not my study. I don't understand why the Bombers wouldn't give it to you. This is a community-owned team, so why won't they let the community know about the feasibility study? It's getting old now."

The long-completed report on the Bombers' venue improvement options and viability reportedly cost close to $250,000 -- some of it paid by the public purse -- though the document remains under wraps. Meanwhile, community interest in the subject has grown since the Nov. 19 Grey Cup game at the 53-year-old Canad Inns Stadium, which has been followed by public comments from franchise officials that a new or vastly upgraded stadium is a must.

"They want to move it forward, but yet they keep you in the dark," Katz said of the Blue brass.

"It's almost extreme opposites, it's almost like an oxymoron. 'We have to get out and promote this, but we're not going to let the media know -- or anybody else -- about the feasibility study.' I don't really understand it."

However, Bomber board chairman Ken Hildahl says the report might soon be publicized once all funding partners, including the various levels of government, have huddled up to approve it.

"We have to get the approval of all the various funders. We're working on that now," Hildahl said, adding that Katz "absolutely" has a right to call for its release due to the city's stake in the report and the future of the Canad Inns facility.

The study is said to show a way of constructing a new stadium, with heavy financial support from the public sector for a complex that would cost between $100 million and $200 million.

Premier Gary Doer said last week that new digs for the Blue should get serious consideration, though Hildahl told the Sun that an upgrade of the existing Maroons Road stadium is likely more viable and "doable in the $30 to $60 (million-dollar) range."

But media mogul David Asper, a former Bombers chairman, stressed that building from the ground up is his stadium focus as he privately discusses "the future of the football club and ensuring its permanent viability" with team officials and other stakeholders. A retrofit of the 29,500-seat Canad Inns Stadium, he said, is a fallback option.

"I don't even think about Plan B until you can't do Plan A," Asper told the Sun. "So I'm not sure why anyone would even be thinking about Plan B."


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