In the lead up to the opening of Moncton’s new downtown state-of-the-art events facility, the concerns voiced among locals seemed similar: parking.
Global News spoke with approximately 30 residents prior to the Keith Urban concert — the first event at the Avenir Centre — and they mostly said the opposite: they didn’t have issues, or planned ahead to avoid problems.
A couple of people we spoke with said getting to the venue was difficult because there wasn’t enough accessibility parking, and more options need to be made available.
For others who attended the concert, they said parking wasn’t a big issue.
“It just worked out,” says Layla Michaels. “It didn’t seem like any extra time or anything added on to the whole entire evening.”
The city says putting additional buses on the road like they did Wednesday will be the plan for all events at the venue; the number will be based on attendance numbers.
WATCH: A look inside Moncton’s $113-million event centre
“We took our two key lines — the blue and green line, which basically go east and west — and we added additional units to that,” says Deputy Mayor Greg Turner. “Codiac Transpo had eight new or additional buses for the regular fleet, and then added two more at 10 p.m., so we had 10 extra buses.”
He says there’s roughly 5,000 parking spaces in the downtown, and for major events, “the rule of thumb” is two-point-four people per car.
Michaels says she expects the wait time to get into the building to improve as more events happen. Staff added new security measures, including metal detectors and pat downs as needed.
“We were lined up for a little bit, about 20 minutes, so there was some chit-chat and overall it was positive,” she says. “People were saying, ‘Oh, look at this line up, but hey, it’s their first time, so they’re going to get the hang of this.'”
Meanwhile, the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce says the location also provides more opportunities for those attending events at the Avenir Centre.
“People can come downtown. There’s more to do. They’ll probably make a night of it,” says CEO John Wishart. “They might spend some more cash, so I think in terms of being a catalyst, that’s really the biggest change with the new centre.”