Two community groups are joining the City of Saint John in calling for changes to the operating licence for a controversial metal recycling company.
American Iron and Metal (AIM) operates at the Port of Saint John. But that doesn’t make sense, according to Sherry Sheldrick, president of the Saint John Real Estate Board.
“Zoning is there to permit or prohibit land uses,” Sheldrick began. “And we feel that this particular operation is not compatible with the lifestyle of our residents within the local area.”
Noise and multiple explosions caused by the company’s metal shredder are major concerns, Sheldrick said.
Liveable Saint John, meanwhile, wants to prioritize air quality.
“Some of the research we’ve been doing over the last number of months, from other facilities around the continent, for example, indicate that there are levels of heavy metals such as lead and cadmium,” said Liveable Saint John spokesperson Gary MacDonald.
“We want to know exactly what we’re breathing.”
In their letters to Environment and Local Government Minister Jeff Carr, both organizations supported the city’s plea for tighter restrictions on AIM’s renewal.
The groups want the metal shredder to be moved off the port, to what they believe is a more suitable location, like an industrial park.
The Port of Saint John is involved in the process, too.
WATCH: Saint John Council asks province to move AIM metal shredder from port
The province has asked the port to monitor noise levels on both sides of the Saint John Harbour the next time a metal ship arrives at AIMS’ facility.
Those results would then go back to the province and other stakeholders. Those figures won’t be completed in time for AIM’s June 1 renewal date, but Carr said the tests will still be important.
“As we receive air quality tests, the department of health will also be involved,” Carr said.
“Sound tests, explosions and decibel levels, we’ll be able to adjust this approval to operate as we receive these tests.”
Reached in Montreal on Tuesday, AIM president Herbert Black expressed sadness over the challenges surrounding his operation in Saint John.
He said he would like to host an open meeting with residents, various levels of government and other stakeholders, at his expense, to clear the air and help find common ground.