Saint John metal recycler draws noise complaints

Noise from a metal recycling plant at the Saint John port continues to irritate residents in the area.

Port Authority says no clear standards exist to determine excessive noise

Some residents in Saint John say they're fed up with the noise from American Iron and Metal. It operates a metal recycling plant at the port. 2:10

Noise from a metal recycling plant at the Saint John port continues to irritate residents in the area.

American Iron and Metal loads scrap metal on ships a few days a year.

The resulting noise is too much for uptown resident Sam Blue, who hears the racket from across the port.

"Tuesday night I noticed it was going past 11 o'clock and I was sleeping," he said. "It continued up until two, three in the morning.

"I don't even know if it stopped. But my daughter was kept awake throughout the night. [She was] woken up several times."

American Metal and Iron Works recycles metal in the Saint John Port. (CBC)

Peter Asimakos of the Uptown Saint John Inc. business group says the resulting noise and dust travelling across the harbour doesn't mesh with plans to develop the city core.

"A scrap yard in the middle of the city, I mean it flies in the face of all the effort of the community to try and arrive at a vision for the future," said Asimakos.

The terms and conditions for American Iron and Metal to use the port limit the operation of the metal shredder to between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The company is operating within that guideline.

But John McCann of the Saint John Port Authority said there are no clear standards to measure the noise caused during the loading process on the docks.

"There are no provincial guidelines to measure against, and there are no municipal guidelines to measure against," said McCann. "So in the absense of having a benchmark to measure against we wouldn't know what we're measuring.

"There's always options, but without a benchmark I don't know how we would determine the right decibel levels and what is not."

The only standard the port authority has to go on is if the amount of noise is reasonable, and McCann said the port feels it is.

McCann also said it wouldn't make economic sense to limit loading to daytime hours.

The companies involved are looking for ways to dampen the noise, he said.