Moncton councillors grill staff over stadium overruns

Moncton councillors peppered the city’s bureaucrats and an auditor about an internal report that revealed $3.8 million in cost overruns at the University of Moncton stadium were due to poor management.

Council was presented with an internal audit report about the project, which went $3.8 million over budget.

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

There was no full-time project manager and in some cases the tender process wasn’t followed properly.

Many councillors asked specific questions about who was signing cheques and when it was obvious the project was going to cost more than initially planned.

Coun. Daniel Bourgeois said the end result was too much money spent and too little information was passed along to council.

“Some members of staff have spent about $4 million over budget without appropriately informing council and council has had to sacrifice other capital projects, put them on the back burner,” he said.

The city’s top bureaucrat said the stadium project was unique with tight deadlines.

Jacques Dubé, the city manager, said no one from the finance department was involved with the project.

“He’s pointed out some serious shortcomings in the processes that were involved in this particular project,” Dubé said.

“But I can tell you they’re not common, they’re not something that happens here on an ongoing basis. This was a very exceptional project.”

Dubé said lessons have been learned and policies have been changed to avoid future problems.

Council decided to adjourn the meeting after six hours of discussion and it will pick up the discussion at another time.

Dubé said the audit provided some valuable insight for the city officials.

“The city of Moncton has learned from that experience and it is confident that such a scenario will never occur again,” Dubé said.

“While they were improperly authorized cost overruns due to timing and inadequate project management and governance approaches, the legacy of that facility is one for which we can all be proud.”

The University of Moncton stadium opened in 2010 and hosted the IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships.

Since that international event, the stadium has held CFL games and an international soccer match between Canada and China.

Moncton will host seven games during the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015.

The internal report comes as the city is looking at building a $105-million downtown sports and entertainment centre.

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