Staff at Moncton's new Avenir Centre faced learning curve, GM says
Centre has been officially open in Moncton since the Keith Urban concert Sept. 12
Nick DeLuco, the general manager of Moncton's Avenir Centre, says the public can expect some tinkering with entry points and other things as staff get used to running the new downtown centre.
"It's a learning curve for everybody — for our staff, for people coming into the building," DeLuco said.
SMG, the company that manages the centre has hosted a few events, including the Keith Urban show, a concert by Chicago and The Rewind Tour featuring Aqua, featuring Prozzak and Whigfield.
There are some things in the building that people haven't dealt with before in Moncton, including security screening and the no re-entry policy.
The Avenir Centre's first event was the Keith Urban concert on Sept. 12, which drew 8,000 people.
While most people enjoyed the concert, some were not happy with the long line, which stretched along Main Street, circled the centre and extended almost 300 metres to the Moncton Via station.
Maria Richard was one of them.
"I think it's absolutely ridiculous that there's six exits and they're only getting people coming in from one exit, this does not make sense," Richard said.
DeLuco said the centre is looking at opening up more entry points.
"So it was a learning curve for us, too, for those first couple of events," he said. "So as we see what people like to do, we'll start opening up more doors and getting people in here quicker.
"But ultimately security is still going to be there so arrive early, plan ahead and don't expect to just walk in when you get here because there will be lineups."
Security for all
DeLuco said people can help the security screening go faster by leaving big bags and items at home. He added the security isn't only for people who come to the centre, it's also for staff, promoters and artists.
DeLuco said a few smokers have complained about the non re-entry policy.
"It's a new policy," he said. "It's not something that you dealt with in Moncton in the past. If you go in to any major market it's something you see all the time."
As for getting people into the centre quickly when winter arrives, DeLuco said that's being worked on.
"We will work and we will endeavour to get people in this building as quick as we can but ultimately they're still going to have to go through security so I keep preaching to arrive early and expect to wait a little bit but we'll get you in as soon as we can," DeLuco said.
Beer and water costs
Overall, people have been pleased with the variety of acts presented, he said.
The centre has two events coming up this week: A concert featuring John Mellencamp, and the Moncton Wildcats' first game on the rink.
Some people have complained about the cost of beer and water at the centre, but DeLuco said the $10 charge for beer, and the $5 charge for water are in line with other venues of this size. He added that beer at the centre is in tall cans, unlike the small cans offered at the Moncton Coliseum.
Empty water bottles are not allowed in the Avenir Centre but there are three drinking fountains inside.
DeLuco said centre staff continue to gauge how events are going, and questions and feedback from the public are welcome.
And it will likely take about a year and a full hockey season for people to get used to everything.
"We'll continue to grow, we'll continue to refine what we do and make this a great place for everybody to come to," DeLuco said.