A sneak peek into Moncton's $104M downtown centre

The City of Moncton says its $104-million sports and entertainment centre is on track to open on time, with 140 people at work on the building each day.

Project director says building is on schedule for its September 2018 opening

The City of Mocnton says more than 133,000 man-hours have gone into getting the downtown centre to where it is now. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

Inside the newly sealed, weather-tight downtown centre is a cacophony of drills, motors and the beeps of reversing equipment, while 140 people scramble to get the building finished in time for its scheduled opening in September 2018.

According to Steve Leger, project director with Bird Construction, the work is paying off. So far, the building is on schedule.

"We are ahead in some areas because we got closed in sooner than we thought," Leger said.

He calls getting the building sealed a milestone achievement.

"We can now heat the building and keep the snow and rain and other things out."

Ron Sharpe, in charge of safety at Bird Construction, has to ensure everyone on the site wears steel-toed boots, safety glasses, fluorescent vests and gloves.

"The guys try to go, go, go, [but] it doesn't matter what the schedule is," Sharpe said. "Safety comes first."

During construction there has been one major accident. 

"We had one guy that fell 18 feet," Sharpe said. "Luckily, he came out if it with three stitches in his head, but it could have been real severe for us."

Sharpe said everyone has to stay vigilant on a building site as large and dynamic as this one.

"Things change every five minutes. I can walk around one area, five minutes later it's changed. So it's a constant thing."

The city said 133,000 man hours have gone into building the $104 million project so far, with about 110 people working on the site daily.

Isabelle LeBlanc, communications director with the city, said all concrete slabs will be poured by the end of next month, except for the ice surface.

"There's a lot of piping ... to go in the ground before we can start laying the concrete." 

The Moncton Coliseum will continue as the go-to large venue in the city while the new centre is under construction, but LeBlanc said there is no long-term plan for the building after 2018.

"We're looking at keeping the ice surface, we're evaluating now whether it will be for a year or two or if it will be for longer term until we re-purpose the facility as  a whole."

She said the space will continued to be used for trade shows, but the city has other priorities when it comes to large infrastructure projects like a North End Community Centre and a new RCMP station.