Moncton deputy mayor calls on province to revoke AIM’s operating licence

Lewisville, N.B., resident Evan Donovan lives a stone’s throw from Moncton’s American Iron and Metal (AIM) scrapyard.

He said he’s concerned by the findings of a report released Tuesday by a joint task force with representatives from Port Saint John and the provincial government. The report was prompted by a major fire that occurred at the AIM site on Sept. 14.

The task force’s findings said AIM’s location in a Saint John residential area was “entirely inappropriate” due to its “known hazards and risks.”

“It was pretty condemning. They straight-up said they shouldn’t be operating in a condensed area,” he said on Wednesday.

The report also noted that the Saint John operations “carried a significant risk of explosion and fire.”

Click to play video: Massive fire breaks out at AIM facility in Saint John

He noted that the Saint John location on the port was more isolated compared to AIM’s Moncton location.

“They should have to move to somewhere that’s not in a residential area,” he said.

Donovan and other Lewisville residents have previously raised concerns about the noises and odours emitted from the Moncton AIM location since it opened in March.

Rachel Bordage, who lives next door to Donovan, said “the noise (from AIM) has been unbearable, seven days a week, long days.”

“The smell of propane has also been unbearable,” she said.

She said she was happy to see the that the report said the Saint John location was inappropriate.

“I feel that it should be the same situation here. AIM is in a residential area and the facility could be moved outside where it doesn’t affect residents,” she said.

A group of around 40 residents presented their concerns to Moncton city council in November.

Deputy Mayor Shawn Crossman and Moncton East MLA Daniel Allain spoke to residents on Monday, and are planning another meeting before Christmas.

“I think the Department of (Environment and Local Government) and Public Safety need to revoke the permit that they’ve given AIM here in Moncton,” he said on Wednesday.

“Moncton could have been easily substituted in that Saint John file, throughout that report, you could replace the Moncton name numerous times and we would have a very, very tragic situation here in Moncton,” he said.

In an e-mailed statement, Department of Public Safety spokesperson Allan Dearing said that: “Inspectors have completed inspection of every active licensed salvage dealer in the province, and found 10 sites not in full compliance with safety obligations.”

The department would not identify which specific sites these were.

Click to play video: Garden safety concerns after AIM Saint John facility fire

He said inspectors were completing follow up investigations at these 10 sites on Wednesday and Thursday to ensure they were brought to compliance.

Allain said the Saint John report raised more questions than answers, like Moncton’s capacity to fight an industrial fire, and national codes on the height of bundles of scrap.

“It begs a lot more questions and I think the residents had a lot of questions already,” he said.

Moncton spokesperson Isabelle LeBlanc told Global News that: “Municipal departments are still investigating the high volume of complaints we have received on the company’s operations in Moncton,” and that the City was “aware of the findings from report on the Saint John incident and he are highly concerned with the findings.”

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