New Brunswick

Energy East project could net Saint John $5M in annual taxes

A document released by the City of Saint John predicts the marine terminal and tank farm for the Energy East project would bring the city $5 million in annual property taxes.

However, the reasoning behind the $5M figure is unclear at this point in time

TransCanada's proposed Energy East pipeline would ship crude from Alberta to New Brunswick. (Canadian Press)

A document released by the City of Saint John predicts the marine terminal and tank farm for the Energy East project would bring the city $5 million in annual property taxes.

The figure is included in the city's application to the National Energy Board for intervenor status as an "impacted municipality."

The document says project proponents estimate the Energy East marine terminal and tank storage farm will cost $805 million to build.

Once operational, it is anticipated the terminal will generate $38 million in annual expenditures.

CBC News spoke to some city councillors on Friday and they could not explain the property tax projection.

"I'm not sure where they came up with the $5 million figure," said Gerry Lowe of Ward Three. "The numbers just don't make sense to me."

He says he is concerned part of the project could be sheltered by a tax deal granted to Canaport LNG in 2005.

The deal fixes annual property taxes paid by the terminal at $500,000 annually for another 15 years.

"If it's built in the same area or the same PIN number, can that mean that this can pay no taxes at all?" said Lowe.

Saint John Mayor Mel Norton did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

The city's communication department said the tax information is contained in documents provided by pipeline proponent, Energy East Pipeline Ltd, in their filings to the National Energy Board.

TransCanada unable to confirm numbers

Energy East is a project of TransCanada, but company spokesperson Tim Duboyce was also unable to say how much the Saint John terminal will cost, or how much property tax revenue it would generate.

The $5 million annual property tax projection is an eye opener given the existing Canaport oil tank farm pays just $364 thousand in property taxes.

According to propertize.ca, a website that uses public data to allow people to view and compare property assessment information in New Brunswick, the Irving Oil refinery itself will pay only $4.7 million in property taxes this year.

The city officially supports the Energy East Project. A council motion in November 2014 declared the project of "utmost importance" to the city.

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