According to the councillors, the Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton will be expanded in three phases. Moncton zoo plans to include several types of new animals in its future. Penguins, giraffes, wild dogs and hogs are all included in these plans.
The councillors said that this will be a multi-year, multimillion-dollar African safari-themed expansion. Andrew Jordan, a consultant with WDM Architects, stated that the expansion will not only improve existing animal exhibits but also add some new animals to the zoo. Jordan said that penguins will soon be new residents at the zoo:
“Penguins are a huge draw no matter where you go, and this would be no different.”
Consultant Zachary Winfield with Zoo Advisors is aware that the expansion will cost millions. She is also aware that an improved zoo will bring numerous benefits to every business in its vicinity. Before COVID-19, the zoo recorded around 180,000 visitors yearly. Winfield estimates that after improvements, the attendance would increase to 230,000 or, optimistically, to 243,000.
“So this is really a big, meaningful growth strategy for the zoo.”
The first phase will cost $7.6 million and its completion date is set for 2024. The first phase mostly includes renovation of the existing assets, such as rebuilding the lemur exhibit. The second phase is estimated to cost $11.2 million and its completion date is set for 2027. This phase will bring many innovations, such as “safari adventure”. This is a tour with a vehicle that would drive through a large habitat with eland, zebras, kudu and other hoofed animals. The third phase doesn’t have a timeline and it will include many new animals.
Councillors have liked the idea and have decided to support it wholeheartedly. Deputy Mayor Charles Léger said:
“I’m happy to see this because I think it is an asset that New Brunswick, the Atlantic provinces have. I think it’s time we put some investment in.”