SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- The property tax assessments for J.D. Irving’s pulp and paper mills have arrived, and the New Brunswick based business giant is taking issue with the new numbers.

“Those assessments have risen from $96-million to $110-million in total, roughly a 15% increase over what we had seen previously,” says Mary Keith, vice-president of communications at J.D. Irving.

The assessments include those for Irving Pulp and Paper, and Irving Tissue on Saint John’s west side, Irving Paper on Bayside Dr. in Saint John, and Lake Utopia Paper which is west of the city.

According to J.D. Irving, the demand for paper has dropped dramatically in recent years because of advancements in technology.

“So that whole shift has certainly reduced demand for paper,” says Keith. “We’ve seen a 50 per cent drop since 2013.”

In 2013, there was a review of six New Brunswick pulp and paper mills, which saw their assessed value drop.

According to Service New Brunswick, a total reinspection was done for the 2021 tax year.

Property assessment services noted there has been significant improvements made to some of the mills, and the economic factors for certain products has also changed since 2013.

In the meantime, the assessments have raised some questions and concerns.

Saint John councillor Donna Reardon says the system makes it difficult for the city to do long-term financial planning.

“It’s the uncertainty every year. It’s great this year, but what if it doesn’t, what happens next year,” says Reardon.

J.D. Irving says it will be reviewing the assessments it has received for this site.

Property owners have 30 days from the mailing date to appeal their assessments.