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Public Safety Minister Kris Austin. Image: Government of New Brunswick YouTube video capture

Province threatens to shut down AIM in Moncton

By Brad Perry May 31, 2024 | 4:16 PM

New Brunswick’s public safety minister is threatening to shut down the American Iron & Metal scrapyard in Moncton.

Kris Austin is considering suspending or revoking the company’s salvage dealer licence for its Toombs Street operation.

It comes as nearby residents held protests last weekend calling for the business to be moved from its current location to a heavy industrial park.

In a letter dated May 23, Austin alleged that AIM has violated provincial regulations, failed to comply with the National Fire Code, and breached municipal bylaws.

The minister said the site’s operations have “significantly intensified and changed” since AIM took over in March 2023.

AIM was found guilty of operating without a salvage dealer’s licence in November and ordered to pay a fine, he noted.

Austin said appliances and other debris “fell or were pushed” from the operating site to an area within 30 metres of a watercourse.

The fire marshal found eight violations of the National Fire Code in December and ordered the company to comply.

Then in January, the City of Moncton issued a notice to comply with the dangerous or unsightly premises and property bylaw.

“I have been advised that the site is now in compliance, but that the City of Moncton remains significantly concerned with the ongoing risks associated with the operations of the AIM site,” wrote Austin.

According to the minister, the company has not confirmed in writing that it is following a January court order requiring it not to import scrap from outside of the province.

Austin said the city has received 189 complaints from residents who “claim to be negatively impacted by noise, vibrations, intensified traffic, extended hours of operation, visual and aesthetic impacts of scrap piles, and environmental concerns.”

“Multiple complaints respecting AIM’s operation continue to be received every week,” he wrote.

The scrapyard is located within 300 metres of two public parks, a playground, and a children’s centre, which the minister said violates the Salvage Dealers Licensing Act and the Unsightly Premises Act. There are also more than 200 homes within 300 metres of the site.

Austin has given the company until June 14 to respond to his department’s concerns.

AIM is currently in a legal battle with the province over its operations on the Saint John waterfront.

The department revoked the company’s salvage dealer licence following a damning report into a September fire that burned for more than 40 hours and prompted a voluntary shelter-in-place order across the city.