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The budget for the University of Moncton's stadium was $20.5 million. The project ended up going $3.8 million over budget. CBC

Moncton city council was "asleep at the wheel" when the Moncton Stadium at U de M was built, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says.

The project went $3.8 million over budget. The federation hopes an internal audit will result in changes so that large overruns are avoided if a proposed downtown sports and entertainment centre is built.

Kevin Lacey is the Atlantic director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. He hopes a tighter rein will be kept on spending for the $105 million centre. The proposed centre is to be built on the site of the old Highfield Square Mall.

"I hope that the scrutiny would at least be on the city to show how they're spending the money. You know, with this project it was only years later that these audits were made public. City council and taxpayers deserve to know what the situation is with these big capital projects," he said.

Lacey said taxpayers' money was wasted with the stadium cost overruns. He said city council was "asleep at the wheel" during the project.

"One of the biggest problems that this audit uncovered is that these contracts were given away untendered. That would be like making major renovations to your house and not calling around for the best price," he said. "It's only in government that you see these types of waste of money that taxpayers are paying for."

No full-time manager

An internal audit found a number of problems with the Moncton stadium project. There was no full-time project manager and the overall management was poor. 

Auditor Bernard Leblanc said that led to cost overruns. It also showed there was poor management and communication throughout construction.

"The initial projections for the stadium construction were $13 million. The total project funding was increased to $20.4 million and the final cost for $24,372,000," Leblanc said.