New Brunswick

Moncton stadium cost overruns due to poor management

Poor management is to blame for $3.8 million in cost overruns on the Moncton stadium, according to an independent internal auditor's report.

Audit cites unapproved expenses, untendered contracts among reasons for $3.8M overruns

Poor management is to blame for $3.8 million in cost overruns on the Moncton stadium, according to an independent internal auditor's report.

The scathing report comes just as the City of Moncton is trying to build a $105 million sports and entertainment centre on the site of the old Highfield Square Mall.

City officials declined to comment on Friday.

The 69-page report, obtained by CBC News and Radio-Canada, shows the initial estimated budget for the University of Moncton stadium was $13.8 million.

After getting federal and provincial funding, the budget was increased to $20.5 million. But the city ended up going over that budget by $3.8 million during construction in 2010.

The audit suggests the project was poorly organized and poorly managed from start to finish.

For example, while there was a committee, no one was hired as a full-time project co-ordinator to oversee the budget and the completion of the stadium, the report shows.

In addition, the budget was lacking details, including a breakdown of construction costs, such as materials and labour, and there were no funds allocated for the architect and consultants, according to the report.

There were also unapproved expenses and contracts given out without proper tenders, the audit found.

The report, which is scheduled to be presented to city council on Monday night, makes 36 recommendations, including better communications and bookkeeping by the city.

Proposed events centre questioned

Some city councillors have raised questions about the city's estimates for the proposed downtown centre.

A Moncton city councillor is raising questions about the figures being used regarding plans for a new downtown sports and entertainment complex.

Coun. Brian Hicks has said the figures don't add up. Information he received indicated the city would contribute $65 million toward the project, but city manager Jacques Dubé subsequently told council the city's contribution would be $49 million, Hicks said.

Meanwhile, Coun. Daniel Bourgeois contends the facility will cost closer to $165 million, rather than the estimated $105 million.

A recent report commissioned by the City of Moncton shows it could renovate the Moncton Coliseum for as little as $27 million, significantly less than the cost of a new downtown sports and entertainment centre.

Moncton council voted last month in favour of spending $6 million on the former Highfield Square property on Main Street for the new centre.

The city will also have to spend between $2.5 million and $6 million to demolish the old mall and clean up any hazardous waste on the 4.5-hectare site, including hydrocarbons and asbestos.

Moncton council also agreed to start negotiations with two national firms which have expressed interest in building the facility.