Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz says he's disappointed to learn of leaks and flooding at Investors Group Field, and he says the public should be allowed to see the damage.
BBB Stadium Inc. confirmed late Tuesday that melting snow has caused water damage to suites and the visitors' locker room at the stadium, which is home to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Construction of the stadium, which opened last year, was funded in part by the City of Winnipeg, which put up $7.5 million.
Katz said the city was not involved in the design or construction of the stadium, and he believes some details in construction were missed. The latest issue is not good news, he said.
"Well, I'm disappointed. I mean, of course I'm disappointed to hear that," he said Wednesday.
"If it's a flaw in the construction, then they should be looking at that situation."
BBB Stadium, the consortium that oversaw construction of Investors Group Field, has given few details on what exactly is damaged or how much it'll cost to repair the rooms.
The Blue Bombers organization has denied media access to the damaged spaces, but Katz said that shouldn't be happening in a facility that was built with taxpayers' money.
"As the mayor I'm very disappointed to hear that. Very disappointed to hear that," he said. "The realities are [that] this is a, in my mind, a public facility."
The Bombers declined to comment on Katz's remarks on Wednesday.
In a statement issued late in the afternoon, BBB Stadium Inc. said it's not allowing anyone into the damaged areas "until the necessary repairs are complete." Read the full statement below.
Minister won't second-guess Bombers' choice
Manitoba Sport Minister Ron Lemieux agreed that Investors Group Field is a public facility, but he would not force the Blue Bombers, which manage the stadium, to show the public the water damage.
"I don't know what construction is taking place in there. I'm not going to second-guess their reasoning why people can't go in and take a look at what the damage is or the extent of it," he told reporters Wednesday afternoon.
Lemieux said the provincial government is confident Investors Group Field is the best stadium in Canada, despite the flooding and other construction-related issues it has had.
"It's a fantastic facility and … I would argue that the majority of Manitobans would agree with that," he said.
The minister said he only knows details of the water damage from what he has read in the newspaper, but he's confident that the builder and designer will fix the leaks.
"This, being a new facility … some people would say, 'Well, why is it happening?' And that's being rectified, I understand, as we speak," Lemieux said.
"That's between the builder and the architect, and they're looking at it and trying to determine what it is, and they're going to come up with a solution to address it."
Problems at stadium ‘under review,’ Selinger says
Premier Greg Selinger said the situation is “under review,” but he hasn’t “seen any specific details” about the water damage.
Selinger said he has been told the water damage is “an issue that can be addressed.”
“If there are any corrections to be made in any deficiencies with respect to water damage or anything that they should be properly addressed as soon as possible so the facility can serve its purpose of benefiting the entire community,” he said during a volunteer recognition event on Wednesday evening.
Selinger wouldn’t say if the province would be providing more money for the stadium.
“We’ve had no discussions on that at this stage in the game,” he said.
Stadium cost currently at $208.5M
The cost of Investors Group Field is currently at $208.5 million.
The provincial government has provided most of the government funding, including $5.5 million in loans and grants to improve the facility in time for the 2015 Grey Cup final.
"I think a lot of people are saying, 'What on Earth is going on with the stadium?' I mean … the stories never end with that facility," said Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in Manitoba.
Craig said the stadium project has been plagued with leadership problems from the start, and he doesn't want any more public money going into the facility.
"The government should be pretty clear that they're not going to put in any more money," he said. "Whoever built the thing should be responsible for taking care of these problems."
BBB has made the decision not to allow anyone into those areas in IGF now under remediation until the necessary repairs are complete.
This decision was made based on consultation with our construction manager, who has advised that the area in which the repairs are being done is a construction zone and any traffic would potentially interfere with the remediation process that is under way.
Crews are working hard to prepare the affected areas for the first event. None of the outdoor seating, or playing field are affected by the repairs.
Normal access can resume, once our construction manager has cleared the site and advised us it is safe to do so.
We will provide further information at that time regarding the repairs that we are pursuing currently and details around what caused the water infiltration.