New Brunswick

Moncton downtown centre will be built

Moncton city council has voted to proceed with a proposed $107-million downtown entertainment and sports centre.

City council votes 8-3 to proceed with $107-million project

Conceptual designs provided by Bird Capital of the Downtown Centre. (Contributed by Bird Capital)

Moncton city council has voted to proceed with a proposed $107-million downtown entertainment and sports centre that could open by fall 2018.

Council voted 8-3 during a special public meeting held on Wednesday night.

Councillors Brian Hicks, Daniel Bourgeois and Paul Pellerin voted against. After the vote, Bourgeois didn't return to the meeting.

Council then discussed whether to award the contract to Bird Capital or Ellis Don. It voted to go with Bird Capital for a 20 year contract.

The 7,500-seat centre will become the new home of the Moncton Wildcats, of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. (Contributed by Bird Capital)

The next step is to get financial and legal closed. A design development timeline will then be set. The initial projection has the downtown centre complete by July 2018 with a grand opening in September 2018.

Hicks says he is concerned about the centre's economic viability.

Resident Harley Stackhouse came to the meeting and expressed similar concerns about taxes.

"I think it would happen. I don't like it very much. I am retired now. Many people feel Moncton is a good place to live and it is but if the taxes do escalate it won't be so nice," he said.

"I still have a lot of questions about the unknowns, about the financing of this," he said. "The impact on taxpayers going down the road, if tax rates increase, which I think they're going to."

On Aug. 4, Moncton received approval from the provincial government's Municipal Capital Borrowing Board to obtain up to $95.4 million in loans for the project, although the city has stated it only plans to borrow about $39 million.

The acting city manager told council Wednesday that "all indications" are that the federal government will come through with another $4.7 million following the October federal election. The federal government has previously committed to $19.2 million.

In July, the provincial government announced it would contribute $21 million.

The city has purchased the former Highfield Square property on Main Street as the site for the proposed centre.

The 7,500-seat centre will become the new home of the Moncton Wildcats, of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The team currently plays out of the 40-year-old Moncton Coliseum.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story indicated Bird Capital had been awarded the contract. In fact, city council, at the time of publication, had not officially voted on whether to award the contract to Bird Construction. Council later did vote for Bird at the end of the meeting.
    Aug 12, 2015 6:54 PM AT

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now