Residents demand shredder's power lines buried
Roughly 200 Saint John residents packed inside a community centre on Wednesday night to express their frustration over plans to bring electricity to a new scrap metal shredder located in the city's port.
Members of Saint John council, NB Power, Saint John Energy and the Saint John Port Authority all addressed the crowd and discussed the issues of running high-voltage powerlines to the American Iron & Metal's expanded facility.
Saint John councillors voted in July to block NB Power from building the high-voltage power lines to the metal shredder after several homeowners signed a petition against the project.
That prompted the company to talk about moving its $30-million project to a different location and several communities actively tried to recruit American Iron & Metal.
Saint John has attempted to keep the facility from leaving the port, however, many residents are still demanding the council find a way to have the high-voltage lines buried.
Veronica Hatt, a westside resident, told the crowd that she expects the city to require the power lines to be buried.
"I am asking city council to stand by the residents. I am asking NB Power to pony up the money. Lots of dollar figures have been floated around, people are making billions, I saw billions up there," Hatt said.
"Bury the line. I am asking city council to stick by their original decision."
NB Power planned to build a high-voltage line along the Bay of Fundy coast and through residential neighbourhoods to supply power to the plant.
The company has said burying the line underground would be too expensive and difficult to repair.
Saint John Mayor Ivan Court said the council will have to assess all of the information presented when it meets again on Monday.
"The future needs the Port of Saint John. Council, as a body, is listening to everything that is being said here tonight and council, as a body, based on all the information, the factual and all the comments, that are being made, on Monday night we will make a decision on what will happen with this project," Court said.
Concerns remain over costs
It is still an open question about whether the council will rescind the original motion or re-evaluate their support to bury the lines.
Coun. Bill Farren said the main question is who will pay for burying the power lines, if that is the decision taken.
"NB Power said they're not going to do it. Saint John Energy said they're not going to do it," Farren said.
"The port said they would help out and we certainly didn't hear the provincial government offering any money. The residents need some help here from their elected officials because they don't seem to be getting any from this company that say they are community minded."
At the same Saint John council meeting in July where the power line proposal was turned down, two other projects were also shelved.
Some developers have complained in recent months about the difficulty they have when it comes to moving forward with projects in Saint John.