Exacavation on the site of a proposed new football stadium for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was to begin Wednesday, although the final price-tag for the facililty remains unknown.
An agreement between the city, the province, and David Asper's Creswin Properties calls for a $115-million stadium at the University of Manitoba to be completed for the start of the 2012 CFL season.
But with the cost of building materials rising, Asper is reviewing the numbers and to comply with the $115-million cost agreement, certain aspects of the design of the building may have to be scaled back — the partial roof covering for example.
Mayor Sam Katz said Tuesday that Creswin is responsible for any building costs beyond $115-million. But Katz said Creswin needs another four to six weeks before it can give an final estimate on costs. But at $115-million, unless the province and city pony up more money, the project may get scaled back.
Katz wouldn't say if the city would pick up any additional costs, only that such a decision would have to be approved by city council. Council also has the right to veto any major design changes.
"Yours truly the mayor and the premier are committed to making sure that a stadium is built and that it's a first class stadium and that when you and the fans go there they're going to leave there and say wow," said Katz.
The head of the city's property committee, Gord Steeves, said if the facility can't be built within the $115-million budget, overhead protection may be sacrificed.
"It's an outdoor stadium," said Steeves. "I don't mind sitting in the sun. In fact that's part of the attraction for me. If other people feel they have to be covered in an outdoor stadium that's their opinion but for me its not honestly that big a deal."
One taxpayers' advocate says no more public cash should go into the project.
"Our provincial government is running a $545-million dollar deficit," said Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation."The city's got all kinds of challenges when it comes to fixing our roads. Between the two levels of government, they should be cutting back on luxury projects such as football stadiums," he said.
Excavators are to start digging the 8-metre deep bowl at the University of Manitoba site Wednesday, Creswin said Tuesday in a statement.