Taxpayers are going to be asked to dig deeper to build David Asperís dream stadium for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. A lot deeper.
The price for the new football stadium, to be located at the University of Manitoba, has spiked to $160 million from $115 million, according to published reports. That number is believed to include all the features of the original 33,000-seat design, including the noise-reducing canopy, which was thought to potentially be on the chopping block once a dispute began over who would pay for the cost overruns.
The number was reportedly disclosed in a meeting Creswin held with various government officials on Wednesday to go over the stadiumís updated budget for the first time since tenders came in on the project.
Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation was astounded at the stadiumís new price tag, which would presumably see the various levels of government cover the $45-million shortfall. He said Creswinís plan should be scrapped.
ďThe project is now 40% over budget and the private partner is balking at covering the cost overruns,Ē said Craig. ďIf that isnít reason enough to go back to the drawing board, I donít know what is.Ē
Craig said the best solution might be to pay $14 million in needed structural repairs to the current site, then hold a Manitoba-wide referendum on how much funding residents are willing to spend for a new stadium. Once that number is known, government officials can approach the private sector to see what they can offer.
Creswinís deal to build the stadium has been controversial from the start, with the province agreeing to loan Creswin $90 million for its construction. The company would then conceivably repay the money with profits gained from a proposed development at the teamís current Polo Park site. Asper, who initially vowed to cover any cost overruns before backtracking, would own the franchise if and when the debt was repaid.
City council approved the stadium deal in the spring. But with the dealís cost drastically rising, the new council will almost definitely have to vote on the deal again.