Red Head residents say they're being ignored on Energy East

Members of a community group in east Saint John claim they are being left out of discussions surrounding the Energy East project.

Citizens in east Saint John community want a public meeting in their neighbourhood with TransCanada Corp.

Leanne Sutton says TransCanada Corporation should be willing to hold a town hall style meeting to answer questions from people in Red Head.

Members of a community group in east Saint John claim they are being left out of discussions surrounding the Energy East project.

The Red Head Anthony's Cove Preservation Association was caught off guard last week when city council approved a list of questions for TransCanada Corp about the project, which would be located near their homes.

Several of the questions apply directly to the impact the pipeline's tank farm and marine export terminal will have on its neighbours.

I have minimal belief that they're going to be good neighbours.- Leanne Sutton, Red Head

They requested details on such issues as the impact on nearby property values, traffic volumes and air emissions, but Leanne Sutton is not impressed. 

The Red Head resident, and member of the association, believes the written answers supplied to the city will be "sugar coated."    

She says people in her neighbourhood have more pointed questions about the project's potential air emissions and the emergency measures that would be taken in event of a spill or malfunction at the terminal.

But TransCanada Corp., she says, refuses to meet with the group in public.

"I have minimal belief that they're going to be good neighours," said Sutton.
Lynaya Astephen is the spokesperson for the Red Head Anthony's Cove Preservation Association, a community group that wants to stop a plan by TransCanada to drill test holes on the floor of the Bay of Fundy. (Connell Smith/CBC)

"If you are going to come in to a community, you should be required to be a good neighbour and answer our questions. Can't answer our questions, don't come here."

Sutton says TransCanada insists on dealing with residents on a one–on–one basis and refuses to take part in a town hall–style meeting.

Lynaya Astephen, also of Red Head, says she would feel intimidated dealing directly with professionals from TransCanada on her own. 

"Residents, they have no idea what to ask a large company like this," said Astephen.

"Most people would have no idea what to ask about a tank farm or export terminal."

Astephen says when the city receives answers to its questions it should call its own public meeting in Red Head to discuss the project with its neighbours.

She believes such a meeting is long past due.

Coun. Ray Strowbridge says there has been no such meeting because the project is "not real yet."

"We don't know if it's coming or not," said Strowbridge.

Tim Duboyce is TransCanada’s spokesperson for the Energy East pipeline project. (CBC)
He says should the project get a green light from the National Energy Board, there would be rezoning applications before both the planning advisory committee and city council, each of which gives members of the public an opportunity to raise questions. 

Tim Duboyce, a TransCanada spokesperson, said in an email that the company has held several information open houses in New Brunswick and more are to come. 

"We hold regular meetings with adjacent landowners ... we have repeatedly offered to hold a private information session with others, but that proposal has been rejected," said Duboyce.

"My understanding is they are seeking a public debate–style happening, which we have declined, as we believe the formats of information sharing I have listed above are more conducive to a serene and productive discussion over a project of this nature."

Duboyce said the company will respond to the city's list of questions as soon as possible, though he could not give a specific date.


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