Manitoba

Debt mounting on Winnipeg's Investors Group Stadium

One of the loans used to build Investors Group Field in Winnipeg is growing, not shrinking, as interest costs are helping create a mounting pile of debt.
Stadium consortium Triple B rolls interest charges into bigger debt (CBC)

One of the loans used to build Investors Group Field in Winnipeg is growing, not shrinking, as interest costs are helping create a mounting pile of debt.

The stadium, on the University of Manitoba campus, opened in 2013 after being plagued by delays and cost overruns.

According to financial statements filed by the University of Manitoba, the first phase of interest and principal debt for the project actually rose by $8.275 million between 2014 and 2015. The total debt now sits at just over $186 million.

Triple B Stadium Inc., the consortium that oversaw construction of the stadium, is responsible for the loan agreements between the City of Winnipeg, the Province of Manitoba, the U of M and the Winnipeg Football Club.

The two-year-old stadium is now in the midst of massive repairs to its drainage systems and the concrete on its concourses. The province has approved $35.3 million in loan guarantees for Triple B to do the repairs. That's on top of an additional $4.7 million already spent attempting to fix leaks.

Triple B has sued general contractor, Stuart Olson Ltd, and the designer of the building, architect Ray Wan, for their work on the project. Both parties have launched counter-claims in court.

The total cost for building the stadium has been pegged at $208.5 million, but that number does not include debt services charges, which would push the final total for construction much higher.

Part of the construction debt is financed through taxes paid on the land where the old Canad Inns stadium was located. The city sent  $423,614 in property taxes to Triple B in 2015. A provincial community revitalization levy is also charged to the owners of the Polo Park land. That generated a further  $846,578 for the stadium consortium.

The Winnipeg Football Club (the Blue Bombers) paid $4.5 million to Triple B in 2015 for its share in the project. The WFC will make yearly defined payments towards the stadium debt until the entire loan is paid off in 2058.

CBC News has requested comment from the province of Manitoba and the chair of Triple B Stadium.

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