Skip to main content

A Nouvelle Stadium for les Bombers Bleus?

Awright, skip the dog-and-pony show. The Blue Bombers have some new coaches. Blah blah blah.

Don't you want to know what happened to their big plans for a fancy new stadium?

Hold onto your hats.

More than a year ago the Bombers were beating the drums for a "destination complex" near Headingley which, they said, would include a 30,000 seat "climate-enhanced and expandable" football stadium, a 250 room hotel, a 40,000 square foot water park and a shiny new 200,000 square foot exhibition facility.

The idea, they said, was to have everything fit neatly in one large circular-shaped configuration around the football field. The cost of the extravaganza was guesstimated at about $165 million, give or take.

It was all going to be built on 450-acres of land known as Red River Exhibition Park, just off Portage Avenue West, near the perimeter. It would still technically be within Winnipeg city limits, even though well past the Perimeter Highway.

A quarter-of-a-million dollar feasibility study was commissioned to nail down the numbers and to jump-start the project. Estimated time-of-arrival: spring or summer of 2005.
... which turned into Fall, 2005
... then Winter, 2005
... and then
... silence.

Well, we can tell you the feasibility study exists. And it says the project is--- to quote the immortal words of the Mauro Report on a new arena for the lamented Winnipeg Jets---do-able. Sorta.

The bean-counters say the three-legged beast can walk. Remember, the planners said they were depending on the synergy of the project to give it life. Individually, a hotel, a stadium and a water-park are money-losers, even at the Red River Ex site. Only together can they support one another enough to make the plan work.

Feasibility is one thing. The kicker is getting the damn thing built in the first place.

The cost has climbed into the red seats, hovering in the range of $200 million. Who, exactly, is going to come up with that kind of money is something the study doesn't say.

The cost shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. The hotel end of the deal is supposed to be privately financed by Canad Inns. But they've had a devil of a time getting another hotel project off the ground in Grand Forks in part because costs keep going up and up. The last time they delayed they said the price of concrete and steel was skyrocketing and they needed time to find more financial backing.

Hmm. A stadium... Concrete. Steel. Uh oh.

And there's still a lot of jockeying going on about the football stadium itself. There's a strong "dome" faction that wants more than a field that's just protected against the wind.

But a dome means more money. And money means politics above and beyond the board room.

Already the Bombers have a hint that a new stadium proposal will not be smooth sailing. In fact, that's a big reason the feasibility study is still in limbo.

Powerful people aren't happy about giving government money to a facility that appears to benefit Headingley more than Winnipeg, and which stands a good chance of sucking convention activity out of the heart of the city.

And that's why a new suitor is whispering sweet nothings into the ears of the Blue Bombers board.

That's right, gossip mongers. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are cheating on the Red River Ex.

Right now they are considering another offer.
One with synergy.
One that would see a new stadium (dome or no dome) built closer to downtown.
One that wouldn't threaten the Convention Centre.

Who's talking to the Bombers? We can't tell you. We don't know.

So, let's guess together.We hear that the newest proposal will provide a revenue stream that the Red River Ex can't, and that it will be located at a popular site which will win approval from major backers. Which leads us to winnow out the candidates.

1) The planned Asper Human Rights Museum fits the bill but a stadium requires more land than is available at the Forks. Scratch that.

2) If the stadium complex isn't going to compete with the Convention Centre anymore, that may be a clue it will be built in proximity to the Convention Centre downtown. Remember the idea floated by Mayor Sam about a waterpark ? Well so did we... it sounds tempting but again, the lack of oodles of land to build the stadium on seems to eliminate downtown as a locale.

Which leads us to the question, where in the city is there a large tract of land, ripe for development, full of synergy and on-going revenue potential?

Well here's one clue: If your proposal to build a Government House for First Nations had been scooped, what would you want to take it's place on YOUR urban reserve? Would a new stadium at the Canada Packers site be a good consolation?

Step right up, Terry Nelson. And while you're at it, bring along local developers Joe Paletta and Joe Bova.

The Joes have already announced plans for a $70 million recreation complex at the Canada Packers site, to include hockey rinks, speed-skating ovals, rock-climbing walls, golf practice fields, a skateboarding park, bike paths and 18 outdoor soccer fields, and indoor pitches.

A big league football field would be a nice neighbour. Or better yet, a big brother.

Both sides of these individual Canada Packers developments are smarting after recent setbacks.

Nelson was primed to create the first Urban reserve in Winnipeg until the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs closed their own deal to build a $60-million government building near Polo Park Shopping Centre. This left Terry Nelson with an alleged pile o' cash set aside for a government house, and a slice of land at Marion and Archibald with no monument structure.

Paletta, meanwhile, had seen his own hotel/waterpark proposal for Headingley, called Northern Riviera, evaporate. The $35 million project was supposed to break ground this summer on land adjacent to the Red River Exhibition grounds and in competion with the Canad Inns/Red River Ex waterpark. However, one of the principle investors died, and with him his European money connections, leaving Paletta scrambling to find a new partner.

In the middle of this marriage of convenience is the city councillor for the area, Franco Magnifico, who had already lobbied for Western Diversification Funding and who told the media that the Bova/Paletta recreation park ( a campus, he calls it) will be financially self-sustaining once it's built.

Can we expect Coun. Magnifico to suit up for the ceremonial kickoff at the new Italo-First Nations Stadium, home of the Big Blue?

Quick. Somebody pinch us.

Popular posts from this blog

The unreported bombshell conspiracy evidence in the Trudeau/SNC-Lavelin scandal

Wow. No, double-wow. A game-changing bombshell lies buried in the supplementary evidence provided to the House of Commons Judiciary Committee by former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould. It has gone virtually unreported since she submitted the material almost a week ago. As far as we can find, only one journalist-- Andrew Coyne, columnist for the National Post--- has even mentioned it and even then he badly missed what it meant, burying it in paragraph 10 of a 14 paragraph story. The gist of the greatest political scandal in modern Canadian history is well-known by now. It's bigger than Adscam, the revelation 15 years ago that prominent members of the Liberal Party of Canada and the party itself funneled tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks into their own pockets from federal spending in Quebec sponsoring ads promoting Canadian unity. That was just venal politicians and a crooked political party helping themselves to public money. The Trudeau-Snc-Lavalin scandal is

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. There, we said it.

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. Oh, you won't find anyone official to say it. Yet . Like relatives trying to appear cheery and optimistic around a loved one that's been diagnosed with terminal cancer, the people in power are in the first stage of grief -- denial. The prognosis for Hydro was delivered three weeks ago at hearings before the Public Utilities Board where the utility was seeking punishingly higher rates for customers in Manitoba. It took us this long to read through the hundred-plus pages of transcript, to decipher the coded language of the witnesses, to interpret what they were getting at, and, finally, to understand the terrible conclusion.  We couldn't believe it, just as, we're sure, you can't--- so we did it all again, to get a second opinion, so to speak.  Hydro conceded to the PUB that it undertook a massive expansion program--- involving three (it was once four) new dams and two new major powerlines (one in the United States)---whi

Crips and Bloodz true cultural anchors of Winnipeg's aboriginal gangs

(Bebo tribute page to Aaron Nabess on the right, his handgun-toting friend on the left) At least six murder victims in Winnipeg in the past year are linked to a network of thuglife, gangster rap-styled, mainly aboriginal street gangs calling themselves Crips and Bloods after the major black gangs of L.A. The Black Rod has been monitoring these gangs for several months ever since discovering memorial tributes to victim Josh Prince on numerous pages on Bebo.com, a social networking website like Myspace and Facebook. Josh Prince , a student of Kildonan East Collegiate, was stabbed to death the night of May 26 allegedly while breaking up a fight. His family said at the time he had once been associated with an unidentified gang, but had since broken away. But the devotion to Prince on sites like Watt Street Bloodz and Kingk Notorious Bloodz (King-K-BLOODZ4Life) shows that at the time of his death he was still accepted as one of their own. Our searches of Bebo have turned up another f

Nahanni Fontaine, the NDP's Christian-bashing, cop-smearing, other star candidate

As the vultures of the press circle over the wounded Liberal Party of Manitoba, one NDP star candidate must be laughing up her sleeve at how her extremist past has escaped the scrutiny of reporters and pundits. Parachuted into a safe NDP seat in Winnipeg's North End, she nonetheless feared a bruising campaign against a well-heeled Liberal opponent.  Ha ha.  Instead, the sleepy newspeeps have turned a blind eye to her years of vitriolic attacks on Christianity, white people, and police. * She's spent years  bashing Christianity  as the root cause of all the problems of native people in Canada. * She's called for  a boycott of white businesses . * And with her  Marxist research partner, she's  smeared city police as intransigent racists . Step up Nahanni Fontaine, running for election in St. John's riding as successor to the retiring Gord Macintosh. While her male counterpart in the NDP's galaxy of stars, Wab Kinew, has responded to the controversy over

Exposing the CBC/WFP double-team smear of a hero cop

Published since 2006 on territory ceded, released, surrendered and yielded up in 1871 to Her Majesty the Queen and successors forever. Exposing the CBC/FP double-team smear of a hero cop Some of the shoddiest journalism in recent times appeared this long August weekend when the CBC and Winnipeg Free Press doubled teamed on a blatant smear of a veteran city police officer. In the latest example of narrative journalism these media outlets spun stories with total disregard for facts that contradicted the central message of the reports which, simplified, is: police are bad and the system is covering up. Let's start with the story on the taxpayer funded CBC by Sarah Petz that can be summed up in the lead. "A February incident where an off-duty Winnipeg officer allegedly knocked a suspect unconscious wasn't reported to the province's police watchdog, and one criminologist says it shows how flawed oversight of law enforcement can be." There you have it. A policeman, not

Winnipeg needs a new police chief - ASAP

When did the magic die? A week ago the Winnipeg police department delivered the bad news---crime in the city is out of control. The picture painted by the numbers (for 2018) was appalling. Robberies up ten percent in  a single year.  (And that was the good news.) Property crimes were up almost 20 percent.  Total crime was 33 percent higher than the five year average. The measure of violent crime in Winnipeg had soared to a rating of 161.  Only four years earlier it stood at 116. That's a 38 percent deterioration in safety. How did it happen? How, when in 2015 the police and Winnipeg's police board announced they had discovered the magic solution to crime? "Smart Policing" they called it.    A team of crime analysts would pore through data to spot crime hot-spots and as soon as they identified a trend (car thefts, muggings, liquor store robberies) they could call in police resources to descend on the problem and nip it. The police