Premier Greg Selinger defends $35M loan guarantee to fix Investors Group Field

Investors Group Field is safe for the Grey Cup — even though it needs $35 million dollars in repairs, said Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger Tuesday.

NDP Premier says stadium safe in the short term, needs repairs to last long term

Investors Group Field is safe for the Grey Cup — even though it needs $35 million dollars in repairs, said Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger Tuesday. 1:57
Investors Group Field is safe for the Grey Cup — even though it needs $35 million dollars in repairs, said Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger Tuesday.
Premier Greg Selinger said the province guaranteed $35 million in loans to Triple B Stadium to ensure the facility will be safe for the long term, while a legal fight between the consortium that runs the stadium and the construction plays out in court. (CBC)

Selinger was on the defensive after his NDP government quietly gave the consortium that runs the stadium a loan guarantee to fix leaks and cracks that have plagued the building since shortly after it opened in 2013. 

"We've been assured that the stadium is a safe facility for all uses, including the Grey Cup," said Selinger. "The repairs that are being made are to ensure that [we] can have the full use of this facility for many decades to come."

Cracks in the concourse floor at IGF are among repairs that will be done thanks to a $35 million loan guarantee from the province. (CBC )
"If water doesn't drain properly that doesn't mean that the floor for example isn't safe. It means that if you don't drain the water eventually that will deteriorate the floor more rapidly. So by addressing those issues now it means that that facility will be safe in the long term. But it's safe in the short term," Selinger added. 

Selinger said Manitoba taxpayers will not be on the hook for the million of dollars in repairs, explaining that when the court fight between the consortium that runs the stadium, Triple B Stadium Inc., and construction company Stuart Olson is resolved, insurance will cover most of it. 

Selinger said it's important that the repairs start after the Grey Cup, since that event alone could deliver up to $100 million in economic spin offs to the province. 
Part of the concourse of Investors Group Field has already been ripped up and redone as part of some $35 million in repairs the building needs. (CBC )

Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister said he doesn't believe Selinger's claim taxpayers won't be on the hook for the ever-increasing costs of the stadium. 

"I feel the way I've increasingly felt I suppose over the last number of months. You can rush a quarterback but you can't rush a construction project. There seems to be growing evidence that the government did push this forward," Pallister said.

"The cost of rushing a stadium project seems to be growing each passing day and now we see this additional loan guarantee as being made necessary as a consequence of a number of alterations that have to be made to the project. It's a sad situation."