Ottawa denies funding request for new Moncton centre

Moncton will not receive federal funding for a new downtown multi-purpose sports and entertainment centre.

The city of Moncton had asked for $25 million from the federal government

Moncton will not receive federal funding for a new downtown multi-purpose sports and entertainment centre.

In a city news release, it was announced Thursday that P3 Canada, a federal Crown corporation has rejected the City of Moncton’s funding request of $25 million toward the centre.

The application process started in June 2010 to build the new centre that would replace the Moncton Coliseum, which is more than 40 years old.

Besides maintenance issues, the city hoped by building a new centre, it could attract bigger entertainment acts during winter months. The coliseum's stated seating capacity is 7,200. There have been other complaints that major concerts must skip the city because the coliseum's roof is too low.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Moncton Wildcats, the existing facility's main tenant, have complained about availability problems.

According to the news release, Moncton has spent approximately $100,000 to date on its application and devoted more than 3,000 hours of senior staff and council time to the process.

"On behalf of all Monctonians, I am extremely disappointed with this turn of events," said Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc in the release. "This project, and all the benefits it will bring to our city and our downtown, is one of Council’s top priorities."

The mayor said the city would still move forward to try to bring the project to reality, with hopes of more support from private sectors and the provincial government.

He also said the centre was an election priority for MP Robert Goguen, and hoped that Goguen would continue to support the project.

"I know this is a significant setback, but we will rise to the challenge like we have on many other occasions," he said in the release. "We are not giving up — this project is far too important. Together with our stakeholders and community, we will find a made-in-Moncton solution."