Moncton hit with $1M in new costs for museum upgrades

Moncton taxpayers will have to pay an extra $1 million to finish the construction of a new transportation museum in the city's east end.

Transportation museum is slated to open next summer

Moncton taxpayers will have to pay an extra $1 million to finish the construction of the new transportation museum in the city’s east end.

The Transportation Discovery Centre, an extension of the Moncton Museum, is intended to explore the transportation sector’s role in shaping the history and growth of Moncton.

But that project is now running into cost overruns.

The provincial government anted up $1 million for the project in August, but now city taxpayers will also have to find another $1 million.

Barb Quigley, the city clerk, warned councillors on Monday that some issues have come up, including several oversights in the original estimate.

For example, she explained, nobody thought of checking the old roof of the museum, which must now be replaced. The added costs also reflect the need to add new lights and a new air circulation system.

As well, the parking lot must be paved.

City councillors said during a Monday night meeting they agree the transportation museum will attract tourists and help revitalize the city's east end.

Coun. Daniel Bourgeois said this is not the first time the city has been hit with extra costs on a major project.

"Whenever we do get these exceptional projects the cost just keeps going up beyond what it is that we anticipated," he said.

"When we bid for the [University of Moncton's stadium], by the time it's finished two years later it's $4 million over budget. So I don't know, this to me, it doesn't make sense."

Bourgeois said the city will have to cut services or raise taxes in order to find the money to finish the museum by next summer.

City councillors called for an audit after budget overruns in 2010.

Work is underway and the $10-million museum project is expected to open next summer.

The 1,170 square metre (12,593 square foot) centre will feature exhibition galleries, an interactive exhibit on all modes of transportation, an education centre, a gift shop, café, and an interior public plaza designed to preserve the 1916 sandstone façade of the former Moncton City Hall.

The transportation museum has been in the works for about 13 years.

The funding for the project will come from the provincial Regional Development Corporation and the federal government.