‘I no longer live at my house’: neighbours speak out over Saint John AIM recycling plant

The constant noise, dust and explosions coming from the American Iron and Metal (AIM) scrap metal recycling facility at the Saint John Port has forced Vernon Lanteigne to extremes.

“I no longer live at my house. I stay at my cottage so I can sleep,” he said.

Lanteigne’s situation is one shared by many who came to speak at a public meeting hosted by Livable Saint John at the Harbourfront Residences, just across the water from the plant.

Along with concerns about air and water quality, there have also been over 40 explosions in the last 16 months, most recently on Wednesday. The volume of noise coming from the facility is particularly frustrating to those living on the west side of Saint John where the plant is located.

Mayor Don Darling has been outspoken in his criticism of AIM but recognizes the need for some level of compromise.

“What we’re looking for is balance. This is not a community against industry… This is about balance,” he said.

While the facility is under federal jurisdiction, Darling says that he is hopeful he will be able to work with the new PC provincial government and AIM to find a solution.

A handful of MLAs, including former New Brunswick Environment Minister Trevor Holder, were at the meeting to hear concerns from those living in the affected areas.

“We want to hear from the residents. We share their concerns when we hear that there are issues potentially around air quality, potentially around water quality. Obviously, the issues of the last week with regard to explosions is concerning to all of us,” Holder said.

Raven Blue of Livable Saint John, who organized the event, says that some sort of action needs to be taken.

“I think what we really need to see is some real enforcement in the way of fines and better controls and monitoring so we understand what’s in the air that we’re breathing,” he said.

Darling says that he will be meeting with the CEO of AIM, Hebert Black, on Friday and hopes that they will be able to find some sort of solution to the ongoing issues.

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