A record-breaking concert over the weekend is proof that Moncton needs a new, larger entertainment venue, Moncton’s mayor says.
The Elton John show at the Moncton Coliseum Complex Sunday night drew more than 8,700 fans — well over the Coliseum's stated seating capacity of 7,200.
Mayor George LeBlanc, who attended the concert, said it was the show of a lifetime and he wishes more people could have enjoyed it.
The city needs a new, updated facility if it wants to attract top artists during the cold weather months, he said, and consolidate its ambitions to become the provincial entertainment hub.
"It would be a coliseum-type of venue, together with some convention facilities, possibly some commercial facilities and recreational facilities, as well," LeBlanc said Monday.
LeBlanc said he met with John to pass along the greetings of the community, and with promoters who told him the roof of the Coliseum, built in the 1970s, is too low to light and stage many touring acts.
A downtown complex would act as the anchor of a future network of entertainment venues, he said, including the casino due to open by next year.
LeBlanc said building a new centre is now one of his top priorities as mayor, but he’s not sure how much it would cost.
"We don’t have a handle on that yet, but that’s certainly something that we have to have a look at. And, as I’ve said, we have to provide a sound business plan for the city, something we can afford," he said.
"I think it’s do-able for the city. We just have to find some partners out there, including the federal government, the provincial government, and probably some private-sector partners. We can make it all happen."