Alberta based Canalta Hotels—who were just approved by the city’s executive policy committee to receive a $7 million public subsidy to build a water park and hotel complex near the Forks—had looked at developing a similar project at the future home of Winnipeg’s new IKEA store, Metro has learned.
Coun. Scott Fielding said he wasn’t aware of plans for a water park and hotel to be built at the Seasons of Tuxedo development before Global Winnipeg reported it Wednesday, but has since learned there’s been a “concept on the books to do some sort of water park” at the location, and one of those interested developers was Canalta.
“As I understand it Canalta was one of the ones that was looking at the place, but as it stands there’s no water park that’s going in there—at least nothing in the immediate future,” he said. “I think it’s a concept more than anything else.”
Calls to Canalta to find out whether public funds were part of any deal that may have been considered at the south Winnipeg site were not returned Thursday, and Michael Nozick, president of Fairweather Properties—the developer of the IKEA site—is out of the country and not available for comment.
Coun. Jenny Gerbasi opposes the plan to sell Canalta city-owned land across from the Winnipeg Goldeyes’ Shaw Park for $6 million because she says there’s been a lack of proper planning, few details shared with council, and little consultation with stakeholders.
The news of another project that might not include public funding left her wondering why the city isn’t stepping back to consider other options.
“There’s too many unanswered questions,” she said. “If there’s a water park that the private sector is already building, then maybe instead of subsidizing this development… we could use that money for some other way to provide kids with that recreational opportunity.”
Deputy mayor Justin Swandel fielded questions from media for Winnipeg mayor and majority Goldeyes owner Sam Katz Thursday, and said he stands behind the plan at the Forks.
“We’ve got the opportunity to do something,” he said. “We can step back and wait and slow that success momentum down, but that’s not my style, I want to get this done.”
A vote on the deal with Canalta to build at the Forks is expected at council next Wednesday.