The Moncton Transportation Discovery Center was first studied back in 2003-04 and a recommended design (same one we are looking at today) was put forward and approved by council. Finally in late 2011 (after 7 years) they got funding from the federal government. They originally got 1 million from the province in mid 2010 (just before the election, still unpaid). The city plans on paying for half and was looking for 2 million from private investors.
Now there are multiple problems with this whole process for me. Over the 7 to 8 years that they have been “working” on this file construction costs have dramatically increased. This means that original cost estimates are basically meaningless. Secondly we have the provincial government with the liberals promising money so close to an election that they were almost guaranteed to be annihilated in and the conservatives failing to meet signed commitments that were in place before they were elected. Thirdly we have a city who wants so badly to play with the big boys but have no interest in paying for the projects themselves.
There is nothing wrong with getting involved in huge projects or for municipalities to work to improve themselves with great facilities. However, If we are going to do this we need to make a serious effort to pay for our stuff ourselves. This is not a huge issue as the city should be setting a portion of their budget aside for big ticket items anyway and I would hope they are. But we can not keep expecting other people to pay for our luxuries. Especially when many of them we could afford ourselves if we made half an effort.
It is true that the liberals should not have been promising money to the city if they were not willing to write a check on the spot, and it is equally true that the Conservatives should be upfront and admit they have no intention of honouring this commitment the previous government made. But over half the budget for this project is accounted for (the city was paying for half, and sponsors being found for 2 million additionally) so I think that perhaps after 8 years it just might be time to get off the pot and start breaking ground for this project. Because on top of everything else while we are sitting there waiting patiently for the Alward government to produce the portion of funds that the Graham government promised, construction costs just keep going up and this project keeps languishing away because with no action started, there is no sense of urgency on the part of the provincial government to declare their intentions with regards to the portion promised by the previous administration.
This type of thing is endemic in this city, with the Moncton Event Center being looked at. The whole aim for the city is to line up funding, They are going to the Federal government (who said no) and they are going to the province, but what they are not doing is looking at ways to make the project a financially viable project that would pay for itself and allow the city the ability to create the project without going hat in hand constantly begging for funds from other people for things that WE want in OUR area.
We have the ability and it is time that we showed it. We need to get our hands out of the other levels of governments pockets and prove that we deserve to play with the big boys. We are grownups it is time to prove it. Let’s leave our begging for things that really matter and pay for our frills and luxuries our self.
I would love to see this museum and I really believe in the event center project but I also believe in doing things for ourselves.