Centre multifonctionnel

An artist's rendition of the multiuse centre.

The City of Gatineau has called in Quebec's anti-corruption squad to investigate after bids on a new municipal arena complex came in far higher than the estimated cost.

Gatineau city council unanimously rejected all the bids for the construction of a future multipurpose centre to replace the Robert Guertin Arena after the lowest bidder entered a bid $15 million more than the estimated cost for the project.

Engineers appointed by the city had looked at bids of similar scope and estimated the project would cost $50.6 million.

But the lowest bid the city received was more than $66.2 million.

Gatineau mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin said the process raised questions about whether there was collusion and justified calling the Unité​ permanente anticorruption.

The anti-corruption unit's probe won't necessarily preclude companies under investigation from bidding again, Pedneaud-Jobin said.

He said it's too early to predict the city's next steps.