Fredericton city council unanimously approves $45M Playhouse rebuild

Fredericton city council gave its final approval to build a new performing arts centre on land currently occupied by the Playhouse at Monday night's council meeting.

Last week 3 councillors voted against the plan at a council-in-committee meeting

Fredericton city council approved a plan to build a new performing arts centre on the land currently occupied by the Playhouse. (Philip Drost/CBC)

Fredericton city council gave its final approval to build a new $45 million performing arts centre on land currently occupied by the Playhouse.

The plan was approved in principle at a council-in-committee meeting last week, but it still needed one final vote from council. 

Coun. Stephen Chase, Greg Ericson and John MacDermid initially voted against the plan at last week's council-in-committee meeting, saying they would prefer the centre be built on the site of the provincial justice building at Queen and York streets. 

But the group gave unanimous approval at Monday night's city council meeting.

Deputy Mayor Kate Rogers said it was important for everyone to come to an agreement. 

"They raised some really valid points in council-in-committee, and then went and talked to staff, talked to some of the board members at the Playhouse and I think resolved some of the issues that they had," said Rogers. 

"It was very important that this vote be unanimous because we want to send a very strong message that we are committed to this project."

More work to be done

The building would be built in phases, to make sure it could continue to have performances during construction.

First, a smaller 300-seat auditorium would be built and in the second phase the main theatre would be torn down and rebuilt.

This plan would cost $33 million in construction with a total budget of $45 million.

But there is still more work to be done before construction can start.

There will be a technical study around the site, and a procurement strategy must be developed to help with the design process.