An emergency meeting to salvage a $30 million development project in Saint John appears to have paid off.
American Iron and Metal is in the process of expanding its facility at the port, but threatened to pull out when the city declined to build a new high voltage power line needed for the project. Councillors blocked plans last week to build overhead power lines to feed the scrap metal plant's expansion project after local citizens complained.
Saint John council called an impromptu meeting on Monday to deal with controversy.
Jim Quinn, the Port Authority president, is now on board. "I think that we've landed in as good a spot as we could have hoped for at the port, but more importantly as a community," he said Tuesday.
Herb Black, the American Iron and Metal president, said he is also satisfied now that issues around the provision of power are being resolved.
"Power, we continue; no power, we leave. It's simple, and they're delivering power, so we'll continue," he said.
Black said it's more convenient for him to keep the project on port property because work has been underway at the site for months. He said he is also happy for the people of Saint John, who will get dozens of new jobs.
Mayor confident in plan
Saint John Mayor Ivan Court said he was confident the city has found an option that could save the city from losing the metal shredding operation and roughly 50 jobs.
The Saint John mayor emerged from the Monday night meeting with officials from the Port of Saint John, NB Power and the provincial government indicating a resolution had been found.
However, Court would not offer any other details about what is contained in the plan.
"We have an option that we all believe is the best option that will meet the needs of the citizens, meet the needs of the company and more importantly generate enough power for future needs on that side of the city," Court said.
He said details will be made available at the upcoming council meeting that is slated for next Tuesday.
The company's president said the council's decision could force him to move the metal shredding facility to another location. At least two New Brunswick towns, Belledune and Dalhousie, are interested in having the project and the jobs move to their communities.
American Iron and Metal needs the new power lines to run an expanded facility at the Port of Saint John. The company's 40-year lease is the first major lease the port has landed since the 1980s.
The company has estimated the metal shredder project could create 23 direct jobs and 20 spinoff jobs.