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'Something has to give': Moncton residents say noise, air pollution impacting lives

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Michel Durepos says he has noticed a lot more noise and activity coming from the backyard of his Moncton, N.B., home over the past few months.

He says cranes sometimes operate at the American Iron and Metal Company (AIM) from 6:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m.

The recycling facility was purchased from Tri Province by the Quebec-based company in March. Durepos says he's noticed a significant change since then.

“It's just at the point, you know, something has to give,” said Durepos.

On Wednesday, AIM was found guilty in Moncton provincial court of operating without a license at its Toombs Street location on May 23 and was fined $292.50.

There was a substantial fire at the AIM scrapyard in Saint John on Sept. 14 that blanketed the city with toxic smoke.

Operations there have been suspended.

“If something were to happen in Moncton, like it did in Saint John, you know, the smoke and the fumes and everything else. Who’s it going to affect? It’s going to affect us in this area,” said Durepos.

Roy MacMullin isn't convinced there will be a fire at the Moncton facility, but he's definitely noticed an increase in noise too.

“They're crushing propane tanks and you hear explosions every so often, but what's likely to happen? I don't know,” said MacMullin.

MacMullin compared the situation to a former dumpsite that was located near downtown.

“We didn't leave it there forever. It had to be moved out of the middle of downtown. Same as this place here. This is not geographically adequate space between the residents and that site,” said MacMullin.

His neighbour Norm Gallant has also noticed the noise and the smell he says is coming from the facility in the past month or so.

“Somebody's got to do something because our neighbourhood is a nice neighbourhood. I like it. We've been here 40 years now and this has changed it completely,” said Gallant.

Daniel Allain, the MLA for Moncton East, has received complaints about increased activity at the facility and says he'll will meet with a group of residents on Monday.

He doesn’t know if AIM is doing anything illegal, but intends to find out.

“Are they operating under the limits of from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.? Should we maybe decrease those hours of operation? Those are all discussions we will have in the coming weeks,” said Allain.

Allain says companies have been operating on Toombs Street in a mini-industrial park for 80 years, but the city has expanded and grown around it.

He does believe residents of the neighbourhood have legitimate concerns about industrial activity in the area and the increase in trucks coming and going.

“Noise pollution. It smells sometimes. Just the increased activity. Safety. So those are important issues that we have to talk and we have to talk openly and make sure we're transparent,” said Allain.

Ward 1 Councillor Paulette Thériault says citizens are very concerned for their health and safety.

Since the industries in the area have been grandfathered in, she believes the city can certainly explore various options.

“If it is a non-conforming use and cannot be revoked but is creating issues for the health and well-being of citizens we should explore putting in place conditions that would make it difficult for any of the industries in this park to expand and continue their operations,” said Thériault in an email.

A spokesperson for the City of Moncton told CTV News it has received complaints regarding AIM and are investigating them.

“It's up to the City of Moncton now to step up and do something about it,” said Durepos. “I'm worried about the noise pollution, the air pollution on days that it smells like propane.”

A neighbourhood petition has been circulating and residents in the area are scheduled to make a public presentation at Moncton City Council on Monday to voice their concerns.

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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