Moncton — Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Minister Rob Moore has raised more eyebrows than dollars in recent weeks, as questions arise over funding of Moncton’s proposed $107-million downtown sports and entertainment centre. The Manatee has uncovered evidence that suggests that, unless the city can guarantee that the facility will accommodate a wider variety of entertainment, federal funding is in jeopardy.
The debate over the construction of a new facility in New Brunswick’s Hub City has raged for a decade; a growing population and a general trend of lethargy has put increased pressure on existing facilities to offer more entertainment opportunities. A new sports and entertainment centre, many agree, is long overdue, though it does not come without some controversy.
“I am concerned that the facility, in its current funding scenario, does not address the needs of all Monctonians. If we fund a facility that is restricted to such niche attractions as hockey, concerts and trade shows, we will be leaving the majority of people out,” he said. “The decision has to be made with the widest demographic in mind.”
When asked to elaborate, Moore stated emphatically, “Gun Shows, wrastlin’, monster trucks and of course, car shows every weekend. That’s what the people of Southeastern New Brunswick want.”
Local tanner Johnny Bourque doesn’t agree. “Guns and cars and that stuff is fine if it’s your thing, but I don’t think it’s fair that we can’t get a new rink unless they bring in more wrestling. I like the Ice Capades, but it sounds like that ain’t happening anytime soon.”