The City of Moncton has found an "ingenious" way to help pay for a new downtown entertainment centre with indirect federal funding, says the city manager.

Traditionally, the city has paid 100 per cent for infrastructure items, such storm sewers, said Jacques Dubé.

But under the new Building Canada Fund, the city can apply for federal and provincial funding for those projects and put the money it would have spent on infrastructure toward the downtown centre instead, he said.

"Before we would have applied it to storm sewers and buses. Now the federal government and the provincial government are stepping up. We can take the money we would normally have … borrowed for those purposes and apply it to the downtown centre," said Dubé.

'So it's not changing anything in terms of the net borrowing of the city, it's simply a way to fund the project in a rather ingenious way.' - Jacques Dubé, city manager

"So it's not changing anything in terms of the net borrowing of the city, it's simply a way to fund the project in a rather ingenious way."

Dubé says the city is currently in an open period for the request for proposals for the project at the former Highfield Square location, which will include a concert venue, meeting space and an NHL-size rink.

But the city needs to know by Nov. 7 whether it's getting any money from the federal government, otherwise, the project could be delayed, he said.

"We're hoping that we're going to get federal funding confirmation of the remaining funding that's available under the new Building Canada Fund and perhaps other monies through other federal agencies that would allow the federal government to actually contribute $24 million towards capital projects that are non downtown centre-related in the city."

The provincial government announced last month it would contribute up to $23.85 million toward construction of the centre, provided the federal government would also be on board.

The city hopes to award the construction contract by the end of 2015, with construction expected to begin by early 2016, officials have said.