Investors Group Field repairs will take 2 more years to complete

Repairs to the faulty concrete and drainage at Investors Group Field will take two more years to complete, but the stadium's owner is promising no conflicts with events at the four-year-old football stadium.

This spring's work on Winnipeg stadium deficiencies to wrap up in May; new rapid-transit station opens in July

Since Investors Group Field officially opened in 2013, numerous flaws have been identified at Winnipeg's CFL stadium, including cracks in the concrete and drainage issues. (CBC)

Repairs to the faulty concrete and drainage at Winnipeg's Investors Group Field will take two more years to complete, but the stadium's owner is promising there will be no conflicts with events at the four-year-old football stadium.

Construction crews working on deficiencies at the 33,500-seat stadium will wrap up their latest round of repairs in May, the non-profit entity Triple B Stadium said in a statement Thursday.

The home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers has been plagued with concrete, drainage and other issues since it opened in May 2013. The problems spawned a lawsuit between Triple B Stadium — which represents the city, province, University of Manitoba and Winnipeg Football Club — and both stadium contractor Stuart Olson and architect Ray Wan.

It also led the province to guarantee $35 million worth of loans to begin repairs. To date, $21.4 million has been spent on this work, Triple B Stadium chair Andrew Konowalchuk said in a statement.

"The first phase of repairs included remediation work on the upper concourse level, specifically with respect to water infiltration and general building drainage and was completed under budget and on schedule," Konowalchuk said in the statement.

"The first part of the second phase of repairs is expected to be completed by the beginning of May," the statement said.

"This work addresses water infiltration of the main concourse level, as well as the waterproofing and drainage of the entire lower-bowl seating areas."

Konowalchuk said the rest of the second-phase work, which consists of lower-bowl waterproofing, "will continue during breaks in the 2017 and 2018 event schedule" and should wrap up for good in May 2019.

"All of the remediation efforts to date have been scheduled to proceed in the off-season or on dates that are least likely to inconvenience Manitoba sports fans and concertgoers. The stadium remains a safe venue for events while repairs are being made," Konowalchuk said.

"Triple B believes that these expenses should be the responsibility of the architect and contractor and not Manitoba taxpayers."

The Manitoba Progressive Conservatives, who called for a stadium inquiry when they were in opposition, promised a review of stadium construction after Brian Pallister became Manitoba's premier.

Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Rochelle Squires repeated this pledge Thursday.

"An ongoing lawsuit includes reference to a number of allegations about the previous government's decision to rush the stadium's construction. Our new government is committed to open, clean government," Squires said in a statement.

"We will work with the Auditor General to make sure Manitoba taxpayers are provided with a full explanation of how funds were spent and why costs were allowed to increase far beyond estimates."

Construction outside Investors Group Field does not involve Triple B Stadium. The city is building a rapid-transit station on the north side of the stadium, at the end of a spur leg of the Southwest Transitway.

That station will open on July 7, when the Bombers host Calgary in their 2017 season home opener,  Winnipeg chief administrative officer Doug McNeil told city council's public works committee Thursday.

Winnipeg Football Club president and CEO Wade Miller said the new terminal will remove buses from Chancellor Matheson Drive and University Crescent on event days, reducing congestion.