Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc is defending the growing amount of money being spent in the city to prepare for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The New Brunswick government announced it would pay $800,000 to upgrade soccer fields to artificial turf at two Moncton high schools to help the city meet FIFA standards.
The FIFA upgrades will cost nearly $3 million Moncton is putting up $1.5 million, the provincial government’s share is $800,000 and the high schools will pay $500,000.
Even in a time of fiscal restraint, LeBlanc said the funds are being well spent.
"I don't think anybody could pinpoint the exact dollar that each person or each segment of society would benefit from that. But I think that it's very important that we continue to be very aggressive in trying to bring these events to Moncton," LeBlanc said.
FIFA may also require the city to add an artificial turf to the stadium at the University of Moncton, something the city didn't anticipate.
And that would mean the city will have to pay more than expected.
The New Brunswick government has been cutting spending across most departments in an effort to cut the deficit.
But Government Services Minister Sue Stultz, who is also a Moncton MLA, said the money for the school fields is an important investment and isn’t just for the international soccer tournament.
"This is a perfect example of where money should be spent to keep people healthy our children healthy," she said.
The fields will be used as practice areas when the FIFA Women's World Cup comes to Moncton in 2015. Moncton will host seven games during the international event.
The event will feature a record number of 24 countries and 52 matches, across the country.
World Cup games will also be held in Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver between June 6 and July 5.