Friday, June 20, 2008

This again?

Policy Frog seemed to think my head would explode upon learning that, astonishingly, the "plan" to build a new stadium for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Point Douglas is actually some kind of option again. While my head has not exploded, it has begun to hurt a little as I try to wrap it around how this can actually be a consideration.

A quick look at Google Maps will show that a stadium the size of the existing one would not fit anywhere in South Point Douglas without obstructing either the CP mainline, the Disraeli Freeway, or Higgins Avenue--to say nothing of the Red River. And this does not include the necessary parking spaces, but only the footprint of the stadium itself. Anyone interested in paying the cost to re-direct any one of these major routes?

How about paying the extra cost of land acquisition and expropriation? (Keeping in mind that the south point is owned by many different people, and that the biggest land owner there is a famously erratic and unpredictable fellow.) And what about the cost of closing minor streets and avenues that make up the myriad of small blocks in South Point Douglas?

And not that many people care about heritage north of Market Street, but there is also the removal of the many historical buildings and sites that dot this neighborhood to consider. Or the matter of building a football stadium (with acres of surface parking spots) on the site of the first agricultural colony in Western Canada, an early hub of activity in Winnipeg's history, and the actual graves of the men killed at Seven Oaks (who were laid to rest by Chief Pequis and his men just north of the present-day Alexander Docks). Friends of Fort Douglas, where are you?

***

Who was that guy who was briefly a mayoral candidate in the 2006 civic election--the one that wanted to bulldoze the North End and replace it with woodlands for Bison to run around in? Sheldon something? Anyway, the only difference between his plan and a Point Douglas stadium is that Sheldon so-and-so thankfully didn't have more than $80-M of public money at his disposal.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Friends of Fort Douglas?

There is no club for the rich in PD.

-Travis B

5:02 PM  
Blogger Louis Riel said...

I get a kick out of hearing the words "football stadium" and "urban revitalization" in the same sentance.

A massive building, surrounded by parking lots, to be used 10 times a year. Revitalization, Winnipeg style, seems to mean tearing apart the fabric of this once great city until its a complete shadow of its former self.

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that the property value of the land near Polo Park is worth more as retail/condo development or whatever than it is as a home for the stadium.

I prefer the Canada Packers site.

12:19 AM  
Blogger mrchristian said...

I dunno. I'd like to hear more detail about the Point Douglas site before making a final decision. I agree that leaving it where it is is the best option for now.

1:11 AM  
Blogger Orest said...

I made a little graphic showing the footprint of existing stadium and its parking in relation to South Point Douglas.

See it here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/orest_ywg/2605946654/

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This former Winnipegger thinks the idea of a football stadium in Point Douglas is fantastic. Of course it has to be done properly, with good transit links, an attractive design, and plenty of green space. It would only enhance the residential portion to the north of the CPR line and provide a terminus for a grand stretch of recovered riverbank starting at the Forks. Even if it is used just a couple of dozen times a year, it will draw people to the inner city. This shows some bold thinking by our civic and provincial leaders, a quality in depressingly short supply in normal circumstances.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous j.jacobs said...

If the guy above isn't being sarcastic it's no wonder why Winnipeg has been sucking since '46.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dallas Hanson should stick to his tin-foil hat 9-11 stuff and drop his subway dream.

12:48 AM  
Anonymous j.jacobs said...

who?

3:17 AM  
Anonymous unclebob said...

We ran this article this week:

Anyone who foolishly splurged a buck and a half for last Saturdays Free Press might have choked over the cover story about the potential Point Douglas site for the Bomber’s new Stadium. When I saw it, my immediate response was "April Fool!' The newspaper should have been dated April 1st
The Point Douglas Makeover is just another example of really dumb public servants playing with other people's money. The Polo Park location isn't perfect and is congested but at least there are four ways in and out of the place. Think about the calamity that would come with only one access street - Higgins which is already a bottleneck.
Maybe soon-to-be-a-judge Tory Vic Toews has been sharing recreational chemistry with New Democrat Jim Maloway, who wanted a six lane Disraeli bridge. What the heck - it's only money… Say! Maybe we could widen Higgins to six lanes too. But the Louise Bridge is only two lanes! Don't worry, forget cost, make the second bridge six lanes as well.
Even if they widened the street and the bridge they could never fix the intersection at Main Street, or at the other end, the intersection coming off the bridge. Imagine twenty thousand cars trying to get through those intersections along with the odd accident and disabled vehicle. Complete chaos!
On the other hand maybe sly old smoke-injected Vic was planning for patrons to
leisurely cruise to the new stadium by boat (the stadium would be on the riverfront).
Speaking of the river, a former tenant of an existing building (which would be under the proposed stadium) advised that the place was condemned because it was falling into the river. What the heck! For an important project like this we could just move the river!
To say nothing of the can of worms that would be opened over expropriation issues. Can you see Duxton Windows and everybody else now forewarned quietly and politely and cheaply agreeing to drop everything and relocate? Could happen - over at least six dead lawyers.
How about the railroad - are they going to move and make life easy for this insane project? Maybe Toews' secret plan is for us to take a train ride to the stadium? Bring on the Prairie Dog Central - or better yet, let's rebuild the Countess of Dufferin!
Speaking of historical and environmental issues - have you ever actually looked at that waterfront? I sure wouldn't want to see the test results on the part where no vegetation grows and you can guarantee they'll dig up more than toxic chemistry when they start digging. Excavating Point Douglas will provide unemployed archaeologists with years of steady work.
And one last conjecture. Maybe they could schedule the new stadium (and the necessary closing of Higgins and the Louise bridge) just in time for the closing of the Disraeli. Perfect! Maybe we could bury those idiot planners and politicians planners under the (flooded) foundation of the new ball yard.
Take a deep breath, Mr. Toews. Mass burial looks like a great idea - a stadium in Point Douglas is not!

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

after reading what the editor of the sun wrote.. i think some one needs to fire off a letter to him explaining that his ignorance/arrogance is extremely sickening.

why don't they think about flattening Kapyong Barracks and build there?

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Winnipeg needs an NHL team at the MTS Centre a lot more than a new Blue Bomber stadium

3:25 PM  

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