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Irving Oil, TransCanada buying real estate in Red Head area

Irving Oil Ltd. and TransCanada Corp. have both been active in the real estate market in recent weeks, purchasing houses in the Red Head area.

Companies are not commenting on what is prompting the real estate purchases in Saint John

Irving Oil Ltd. and TransCanada Corp. have both been active in the real estate market in the Red Head area in recent weeks.  

Irving Oil-associated companies already own well over 1,000 hectares in the area around Canaport where oil and liquefied natural gas terminals are located.

Much of the land was purchased several years ago when the company considered building a second oil refinery.

But Irving Oil isn't commenting on the more recent purchases, which took place Dec. 10 when deeds to five properties owned by two Red Head families were transferred to 658273 N.B. Ltd.

The land totals about 16 hectares, approximately 40 acres.  The purchasing company's address is listed as 10 Sydney Street in Saint John, headquarters of Irving Oil Ltd.

The company's directors are two senior Irving Oil executives, Jeff Matthews and Jonathan McKenzie.

Well over 10 square kilometres of land in the immediate area is already registered to the same company.

Community activists, such as Gordon Dalzell of the Clean Air Coalition, can only speculate on what is planned for the land.

It is unknown whether the purchases are tied to the proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal, the Energy East Pipeline project or to a third, indirect, project, such as a heavy oil upgrader refinery.

Whatever the case, Dalzell says people in the community have a right to know what changes could come to the neighbourhood.

"That has an impact on the social life of the community," says Dalzell.

"When you look at the development in the community this is so important and it affects so many people. I think the public have the right to know more what's going on behind the scenes here."

In the meantime, a spokesperson for TransCanada Corp. could not immediately respond to questions Friday about the purchase of a home on Red Head Road.

That property was bought by a company affiliated with TransCanada called Energy East Pipeline Partnership. The purchase was registered on Nov. 13.

TransCanada's $11-billion Energy East proposal would see the conversion of roughly 3,000 kilometres of natural gas pipeline on the company's Canadian Mainline route and the construction of 1,400 kilometres of new pipeline, to carry crude oil from Alberta to Saint John.

The pipeline proposal would send 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Western Canada to refineries and export terminals in Eastern Canada.

TransCanada and Irving Oil Ltd. have also formed a joint venture to build and operate a new $300-million deep water marine terminal, 

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