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'Our homes shake': N.B. residents protest over noise concerns

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For the second straight day, a group of people from a Moncton, N.B., neighbourhood gathered to protest the operation of a scrap metal recycling facility located in their backyard.

Around 30 people gathered at the end of Toombs Street to voice their concerns over the American Iron & Metal (AIM) recycling operation in Moncton Saturday morning.

People voice their concerns over the AIM Recycling operation in Moncton, N.B. (Derek Haggett/CTV Atlantic)

Organizer Monique Bernard said she's concerned about environmental and noise pollution.The AIM facility in Moncton is next to the Lewisville neighbourhood.

The facility was purchased from Tri Province in March of 2023 and Bernard said the noise levels have increased dramatically since the new company took over the scrap yard.

"Our homes shake. We feel the jolts in our bodies," said Bernard.

Department of Environment and Local Government (ELG) spokesperson Geoffrey Downey said on Friday that AIM has a valid salvage dealer’s licence and approval to operate.

"The Department of Justice and Public Safety and ELG are always willing and available to discuss any issues with stakeholders," said Downey in an email. "Government officials continue to monitor the operation."

In a statement released Friday, The City of Moncton said it acknowledges the concerns residents have regarding the salvage yard operation on Toombs Street.

The city said AIM is authorized to operate a salvage yard on the property.

"I think that it is a complete system failure on the city and on the provincial part," said Bernard. "There's too many loopholes in the provincial guidelines for noise and the city has no official guidelines for permissible decibel levels."

Bernard said the protests were more directed at the city and the province than at the recycling company.

"We know there is a place on this earth for metal recycling, but it's not in our backyards. And especially something at a high calibre as the AIM operation," said Bernard.

Bernard said community members don't necessarily want to see AIM Recycling shut down, but relocated to a non-residential area.

Local resident John Cormier feels the same way

He's said he's also noticed more noise and odours since AIM took over.

"We don't want them to shut down, we just want them to relocate to a place that is zoned properly," said Cormier. "Here is zoned light industrial, not zoned heavy industrial. When it was Tri-Province they had one crane. Now they've got four. Four times the noise," said Cormier.

The city states the property at the end of Toombs Street was operated as a salvage yard prior to changes in zoning from heavy industrial to industrial park.

A photo of the AIM Recycling Moncton facility taken on May 25, 2024. (Derek Haggett/CTV Atlantic)

The current use has been grandfathered in and is considered a legal nonconforming use, according to the city.

Elaine Aucoin, General Manager of Sustainable Growth and Development Services, said the city has been working closely with AIM and with the province to find ways to reduce the impact of the operation on residents in the neighbourhood.

"A number of steps have already been taken and others are in progress, so we are hopeful conditions will continue to improve as mitigation strategies are implemented," said Aucoin.

The city's statement went on to say they have been working with AIM and the province to find ways to mitigate the impact the operation is having on residents who live nearby including monitoring noise levels on a weekly basis.

Administration staff met with AIM representatives in April and May and confirmed a consultant was hired to complete a noise mitigation study and noise mitigation measures are being worked on.

According to the city, the Quebec-based company's Approval to Operate was renewed by ELG and is valid until July 31 of this year.

"Me, I've been in this neighbourhood for 46 years," said Cormier. "Never heard it this bad."

CTV News has spoken to several neighbourhood residents over the past year who have expressed their concerns over noise and foul odours coming from the AIM operation in Moncton.

CTV News reached out to AIM for comment, but did not hear back.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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