The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

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Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL: black_rod_usher@yahoo.com

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Winnipeg Blue Bombers are staring at $40 million in stadium cost overruns



Open wide, folks.

Mary Poppins sang how a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down--- and the first win by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in their spanking new football stadium is as sweet as it gets.

But now it's time for your medicine.
While watching the game we thought that it was a good time to catch up with A Person In A Position To Know. We introduced him to you back in July with his hot tip about the cost overruns on the stadium that were being kept under wraps.

Yikes. No sooner did we touch base with APIAPTK than we realized that the team's new acting CEO Wade Miller is sitting on the biggest powder keg in blue-and-gold history. 

When she blows, the blast will be monumental.

And this time, A Person In A Position To Know is not the only source of the explosive news.

During a recent on-line chitchat about stadium matters, when a curious football fan asked "how much these specific cost overruns are",  A Person In A Position To Know was able to answer when, during a related discussion, the fan tossed out a figure of $400,000, he was informed "add two zeros and you've got the value of the overruns....and its still going up."

Forty million dollars.  That's on top of the $190 million the project was supposed to cost, a number that was allegedly protected by a 'Guaranteed Maximum Price' promise from Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger and Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz.

What? You don't trust a single-sourced story? Then read this and weep.

It's from the Aug. 31 issue of the Hamilton Spectator by their Hamilton Tiger Cats beat reporter Drew Edwards.
Lessons for Hamilton from Winnipeg's stadium
Fan experience should be first priority,
but reality is football and finances are often like O-line vs. D-line
By Drew Edwards
The most impressive element of the new Investors Group Field in Winnipeg is unquestionably the massive roof, its two sections of ornately-designed, curved steel covering almost eight acres and stretching almost 200 feet over the seats below. It's swooping profile is the iconic image used in much of the branding.
But the roof also added approximately $35 million to the cost and was the central factor in a year-long delay in opening the facility.
The new Hamilton stadium, due to open in time for the 2014 CFL season next July, will have no such roof, one of several important differences between Tim Hortons Field and the Investors Group version in Winnipeg.
One is cost. Tim Hortons Field has a budget of $148 million, while IGF was budgeted at $200 million before the delay and additional, costs which are expected to push the final tally closer to a quarter of a billion dollars. Money in Winnipeg is undeniably tight: for example, the press box is still unfinished - it's currently situated outdoors - and will have to be enclosed before the Bombers can hold a Grey Cup.
snip
One of the possible explanations for the construction delay and some of the oversights in the Winnipeg facility is the relative inexperience in both the architect and the builder in constructing sports facilities. Both firms were required to be Manitoba-based by the terms set by the provincial government, the primary financial backer...

Not exactly so that last part, according to A Person In A Position To Know. 

"many of the cost overruns came because asper considered himself the client and not the bombers....after he got turfed and the building was under construction they had to go back in and make it functional for the football team...add that to the inexperience of the architect and you have huge cost overruns like he says." explained Person.

However you slice it, we're in for a financial flood of woe.  The Bombers currently are in hock for the stadium for the next 44 years. 

Add another $40,000,000 and counting, and they'll still be owing on the facility 50 years from now when the bulldozers start tearing it down to build a new one. 


Only you can bet the team will declare bankruptcy well before then.

Now, we ask you, is that any way to welcome Wade Miller?
For the record, we scouted Wade Miller for another job three years ago. Read all about it:  http://blackrod.blogspot.com/2010/08/wade-miller-for-mayor.html

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