MONCTON (CNB) – A sod-turning ceremony was held today to mark the official start of construction of the Community Peace Centre in Moncton. The federal and provincial governments each invested $2.2 million in the project.

The event was attended by Social Development Minister Sue Stultz; National Revenue Minister Keith Ashfield; and Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc.

"Our government's investment in the Community Peace Centre will help strengthen the community and improve the quality of life," said Stultz. "Placing all these not-for-profit groups under one roof will help better serve individuals and families in the region."

Stultz, who is also the minister responsible for seniors, housing and community non-profit organizations, was speaking on behalf of Economic Development Minister Paul Robichaud.

"Our government is responding to the needs of the community by investing in the Community Peace Centre and the establishment of a community facility that will headquarter organizations serving a broad range of local needs," said Ashfield. "The funding we have provided through Canada's Economic Action Plan is helping to build a facility that is guided by a vision of an enriched quality of life for all."

Ashfield is also the minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and minister for the Atlantic Gateway.

The Community Peace Centre will be a 7,200-square-metre (80,000-sq.-ft.) facility that will bring together six non-profit groups, allowing them to share resources and improve operational efficiencies.

The organizations are the Central United Church, the United Way of Greater Moncton and Southeastern New Brunswick, Family Service Moncton Inc., Volunteer Centre of Southeastern New Brunswick Inc., Family and Early Childhood Inc., and the Multicultural Association of Greater Moncton Area Inc.

"Today's event is another milestone for the realization of our dream of building the Community Peace Centre in downtown Moncton," said Annette Vautour-MacKay, chair of the Community Peace Centre board of directors. "With six organizations under one roof under a mission of peace to individuals and families, this complex will be the heart of the community."

Canada's Economic Action Plan is providing $1 billion over two years through the Community Adjustment Fund program to assist communities affected by the recent global economic downturn to create jobs and sustain local employment. The program is delivered in Atlantic Canada by ACOA.