Moncton downtown centre cost climbs to $112M

An attempt to limit how much Moncton will eventually pay for the proposed downtown centre has failed.

Project was estimated at $75M three years ago

The City of Moncton's budget for the proposed downtown centre continues to climb.

The current projection is $112 million, up from $105 million just last month and from $75 million three years ago.

City manager Jacques Dubé says the estimated cost is in 2017 dollars and takes inflation into account.

But he says the city has to prepare for a project that might also include a library, a seniors centre and commercial development.

"At the end of the day if you box yourself in, you may well kill the project," he said.

Coun. Brian Hicks is skeptical about the estimates and urged council to put a limit on how much it's prepared to spend.

"Five years in, council doesn't even appear to be concerned about how much we're going to spend," he said. "I just find this totally unbelievable."

But Mayor George LeBlanc says two developers are currently preparing bids on the project.

"To cast it in stone at this stage would be, I think, a formula for failure," he said. "We would wrap a straight jacket around this project."

The city's latest figures show council is hoping the provincial and federal governments will each contribute $24 million toward the project, which would leave $64 million for Moncton taxpayers to cover.

But council still has no commitments from the other two levels of government.

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