Fredericton councillors awarded a $21.6-million construction contract to a Caraquet-based company to build the southside's new sports complex on Monday night.

After six years of talking and planning, the Grant-Harvey Centre is about to become a reality.

City councillors announced at its meeting on Monday night that Foulem Construction won the contract to build the complex that will include Olympic and NHL-size ice rinks, tennis courts and a soccer field.

Construction on the centre had been delayed after the city argued about the cost, which will be roughly $30 million.

Coun. Mike O'Brien, the chairperson of the city's finance committee, said it was important for the city to move ahead with the project.

"The finances of this city were in the shape that we could consider taking on some additional debt," O'Brien said.

"The interest rates were at the rate that … made it very feasible to do so."

The complex will have an 8,000-square-metre ground floor base.

Coun. Eric Megarity said despite the high cost, the centre is a good buy for residents.

"It's all about keeping people healthy. It's spending dollars now to look into the future," Megarity said.

"It's going to pay dividends, so keep people active, people are going to live longer, and it's going to bode the city well."

The federal and provincial governments have agreed to each pay $3.5 million into the project.

Ground is expected to be broken on Friday and the centre should be finished by next fall.

The new rink will become home to men's and women's hockey teams from St. Thomas University and Fredericton High School.

The Olympic-size ice surface will have 500 seats while the NHL surface will have 1,500 seats.