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Statement from Donna Noade Reardon, Mayor of Saint John

Statement from Donna Noade Reardon, Mayor of Saint John:

The City of Saint John stands with residents in their concern and outrage over the environmental, safety and public health crisis caused by the toxic fire at American Iron and Metal (AIM). The land on which AIM operates is not city land, nor do we have any jurisdiction over regulating AIM operations, yet our residents and businesses are the ones suffering the consequences – the full severity of which we may only learn in months and years to come.

In the early morning of September 14, many partners in our city came together like they always do in a crisis, and I want to thank our first responders, emergency workers, J.D. Irving, Limited, Irving Oil Ltd, and Port of Saint John, who worked around the clock sharing their expertise and resources to protect residents, get the fire under control and return our air quality to normal levels.

The Province of New Brunswick has committed to initiate a thorough investigation to understand how the incident happened.  We are also calling on the Province to undertake a full and independent audit of AIM’s compliance with their Approval to Operate that is issued by the Province’s Minister of Environment and Local Government. Furthermore, we request that the outcomes from the audit be made available to our entire community and the general public – those of us who have been so negatively impacted by this public health and environmental disaster. Residents of Saint John deserve answers around oversight, operational compliance, environmental impacts, and public health. Enough is enough.                                 

For several years now, the City has strongly raised concerns with respect to the AIM operation and the risk it poses to our community. Its location is unacceptable and incompatible with our residential communities on both sides of the harbour, our tourism economy from the cruise industry, and our work to attract private investment to beautify our waterfront and create housing for our growing population. AIM is a black eye on our community, and we cannot accept anything less than swift and strong action from those who control its ability to operate.

We are pleased with the Premier’s promise to move with speed in conducting the investigation, including clear deadlines for AIM to uphold and for the Department of Environment and Local Government to enforce. We also look forward to hearing from the Federal Government who owns the land on which AIM operates.

The residents and businesses of Saint John must be respected and protected going forward. Anything less is unacceptable.