An arrangement that appeared to suit no one is a step closer to significantly changing how Investors Group Field is financed and maintained.
A report to Winnipeg city council’s executive policy committee recommends a reworked deal where the Winnipeg Football Club would get the full amount of entertainment tax collected on the sale of tickets to events at the stadium.
Under the old agreement a portion of the tax was earmarked for repaying the debt to build the stadium.
The provincial government, which has proposed the new arrangement, has created a $10-million fund to pay for ongoing capital investments for IG Field.
The deal would end an entity known as Triple B Stadium Inc. — a consortium of the Winnipeg Football Club, the City of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba.
The report says the provincial government suspended debt payments on the loans to build the facility, and “essentially the Province has no expectation that the outstanding balance of this loan will be repaid.”
The Blue Bombers would use the proceeds of the entertainment tax as part of its general revenues. Any year-ending profit would go into the capital fund.
The stadium has had a difficult, sometimes tortured journey from how it was financed to massive shortcomings from its construction.
In 2011, the NDP government of the day approved two loans to Triple B. The loans, totalling $160 million, were for the stadium’s construction on the University of Manitoba’s Fort Garry campus.
The loans were designed to be payed back in two ways simultaneously:
- $75 million was repayable over 25 years from redevelopment of the former stadium site in Polo Park.
- $85 million was to be repaid from 2014 to 2058 from revenue generated by the Winnipeg Football Club.
The stadium has required millions of dollars in repairs since it opened.
A lawsuit filed against the contractors in 2015 alleges the stadium suffers from poor or no drainage in some parts, was poorly insulated and leaked.
The new agreement would see the provincial government take over the ongoing court case related to “construction deficiencies” and would receive any money won from the court case.
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