Saint John residents affected by butane leak still looking for answers
Published Saturday, February 10, 2018 6:45PM AST
Some Saint John residents say they want answers about why Irving Oil is taking steps to purchase some homes near the site of the butane leak last month, but not all of them.
On January 8th, a butane leak was detected in the pipeline that links Irving Oil facilities. More than 80 people near the refinery were evacuated for almost a week due to the potentially explosive situation.
Huddled in one living room, these Saint John residents say they are being ignored by Irving Oil, which has left them in a dangerous situation.
According to multiple sources, the company has been in contact with homeowners on River Ave. arranging to have their houses appraised.
But those living on Pleasant City St.- a dead end street off of River Ave., have been told the oil giant is not interested in buying their homes.
Some residents feel they'll never be able to sell their homes if they're still living in what they call 'the danger zone'.
"They just continued to say that they weren't interested and they weren't going to be purchasing any homes on Pleasant City St." says resident Corissa Frenette.
Karen Sheperd says the last few weeks have been stressful, and she fears that another leak could happen any day.
"I'm so much more aware of how dangerous this area is... everytime I hear a crash or a bang I just jump.. I'm just nervous all the time that it could happen again," says Sheperd.
Sheperd believes the property value on her home has dropped since the incident. She feels everyone that was evacuated should get the same offer from Irving.
"You value the people's lives on River Avenue to buy their homes, then what about the eight other houses? Our lives are just as much at risk."
"My life is just as important as those on River Avenue. I'm glad they've been given a good deal, but I don't understand how our lives.. and I’m not talking about our property, I’m talking about our lives, because butane gas is flammable, very explosive and the pipeline is still there, it could happen again," says Sheperd.
The local MLA has been listening to residents’ concerns and has been in contact with officials at Irving Oil.
"It's going to take a little bit of communication, a little bit of patience, but my hope is that we get everybody on the same page for the benefit of everyone involved," says Glen Savoie, MLA for Saint John East.
Irving Oil commissioned a report proposing a plan of action for the pipeline. The report was shared with New Brunswick's Department of Environment, but not the public.
Residents of Pleasant City St. are planning to hold another community meeting, Sunday at 7 p.m.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Mary Cranston.