Manitoba

Stadium plan could include 2nd water park, Polo Park land

More details are emerging about a deal that could lead to a new football stadium being constructed in Winnipeg's Point Douglas neighbourhood.

More details are emerging about a deal that could lead to a new football stadium being constructed in Winnipeg's Point Douglas neighbourhood.

David Asper, the man behind a proposal to build a new stadium in Winnipeg, may still get a piece of city land at Polo Park, even if the new building is constructed in Point Douglas.

When Asper initially put forward his bid to take over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, he wanted to build the new stadium where the current one sits, at Polo Park.

However, he would require a steady income to support that project, so the city was considering selling him land in the area, a big-box shopping mecca close to Polo Park Shopping Centre, that he could develop for retail use.  

Now it appears Asper's stadium project could go up in the inner-city Point Douglas neighbourhood, but the Polo Park land could still be part of the deal.  

Mayor Sam Katz said Wednesday that no matter where the stadium is built, Asper will still need revenue, so the Polo Park land is still in play.

"It's definitely a possibility," Katz said, adding that he believed there was a 50/50 chance the stadium would call Point Douglas home.

Second water park a possibility

Katz also said a second water park for the city is part of the plan for the Point Douglas site. There's also talk of a hotel and new residential development, although Katz conceded that many issues are still up in the air.

"We're certainly not there yet, but that is part of the plan: a stadium as well as a water park," he said. "I think it would be terrific. I think it's time, you know, we think big."

Wednesday morning, the mayor's cabinet approved plans for the city's first indoor water park, which would be built by Canad Inns as part of an expansion of its hotel property at Polo Park.  The city and the provincial government would contribute a total of $7 million to the $56 million development.

Katz said he hoped a decision would be announced on the new stadium and possibly a second water park within a couple of weeks.

Both the provincial and federal governments have expressed keen interest in the Point Douglas location, saying it contains a strong community development approach.

For his part, Winnipeg Blue Bombers CEO Lyle Bauer said he has not been involved in the negotiations over the stadium's location, and no one has asked him if he would like the stadium in Point Douglas.

"It really doesn't matter what I think," he said. "What I think and what our fans think and what our board thinks is that we need a new facility."

Bauer said he was pleased that the discussion had turned to where the stadium will be located rather than whether a new facility will be built.

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