City favours Canad Inns water park proposal

The city of Winnipeg is considering giving the green light to a proposal for a water park in the Polo Park area, according to a document released Monday at city hall.
Canad Inns' proposed water park, as pictured in the City of Winnipeg report. ((City of Winnipeg/Number Ten Architectural Group))
The city of Winnipeg is considering giving the green light to a proposal for a water park in the Polo Park area, according to a document released Monday at city hall.

A report added Monday to the agenda for next week's executive policy committee meeting indicates the city's department of planning, property and development recommends going ahead with the proposal by the Canad Inns hotel chain.

Mayor Sam Katz described the proposal as "solid."

"No. 1, it had a location that a lot of people support.  No. 2, they can move very quickly —  and as you probably recall, I want to see this water park in my lifetime, OK? I think it's time our children had that opportunity," he said.

"[Canad Inns] can move quickly. We can start construction on time and get it done."

The proposal includes 100 new rooms for the existing Canad Inns hotel at Polo Park, and a 66,000-square-foot indoor water park that would include a wave pool, lazy river, family whirlpool, adult whirlpool, children's activity pool, inner-tube slides, water roller coaster, bowl waterslide and surf ride.

City, province to kick in $7M

The project would cost $56 million, with more than three-quarters of the money paying for the water park. The city and province would contribute a total of $7 million.

The facility would be built on land owned by Canad Inns.

The report says the entire project would boost city coffers by $900,000 per year through property, business and hotel taxes.

To receive the city funding, Canad Inns would have to enter into an agreement to provide public access to the park and $700,000 worth of in-kind services and reduced admissions for 25 years.

The city received four other water park proposals: one from the Prairie Ocean Experience Group, and three identical proposals for parks in three different locations from Creswin Properties Ltd.

The Canad Inns proposal is consistent with Plan Winnipeg, is close to transportation routes and other tourist venues, and complements the community and surrounding area, the planning department document notes.

Years in the making

Winnipeggers have been mulling over proposals for an indoor water park in the city for years. Leo Ledohowski, president of the Canad Inns chain, has pitched previous suggestions for a water park combined with a football stadium in the St. Boniface neighbourhood and in Headingley, just west of Winnipeg.

Canad Inns already operates a 40,000-square-foot water park in Grand Forks, N.D., which is open to the public. Entrance fees for people over six years of age during the winter range from $11 US for weekday evenings to $17 US for full days on holiday weekends.

The $7 million to fund the water park would come from a $9-million fund the city had planned to use to upgrade pool facilities at Kildonan Park into an "urban oasis."

Council approval is required before the city's $7-million grant will go ahead.  That process will begin Wednesday when the executive policy committee, considered the mayor's cabinet, considers the matter.

The city's request for proposals included an expectation that the water park open for business by Nov. 30, 2009.


  • The City of Winnipeg and the Manitoba government will contribute a total of $7 million to the proposed water park project, not $7 million each, as originally reported.
    Jun 25, 2008 12:09 PM CT