Public Safety minister weighs future of AIM's Moncton scrapyard licence

The future of American Iron & Metal's scrap dealer licence for its Moncton site remains uncertain after Public Safety Minister Kris Austin advised the company last month he was considering suspending or revoking it.

Austin had given AIM until Friday to respond to his May 23 letter, which outlined issues identified under the Salvage Dealers Licensing Act, among others.

AIM responded before the midnight deadline, confirmed Public Safety spokesperson Allan Dearing.

"Minister Austin will take the necessary time to fully review and appropriately evaluate AIM's response before making further decisions," he said in an emailed statement.

Romain Viel, a lawyer representing the company, declined to comment Friday.

He previously told CBC News that AIM understands Moncton-area residents' concerns about the Toombs Street site and was working to mitigate them, such as applying to the city to construct a sound barrier.

AIM's Moncton scrapyard has violated the Salvage Dealers Licensing Act, the Fire Prevention Act, the Unsightly Premises Act and Moncton municipal bylaws, and is not zoned properly for current operations, Austin has said.

It has also been the subject of a number of complaints from area residents over noise and smells.

In December, Austin revoked the licence for AIM's Saint John waterfront site, following a massive fire in September that burned for two days and prompted a shelter-in-place order because of hazardous smoke.

The company is challenging that decision.

After a task force report on the Saint John fire, the province conducted inspections at 87 scrapyards across New Brunswick and found 10 were not in compliance. It issued orders to correct various issues, though it has not said what issues were found at which sites.

Austin's letter included this map, showing the proximity of the Moncton AIM scrapyard to residential areas and a river.
Austin's letter included this map, showing the proximity of the Moncton AIM scrapyard to residential areas and a river. (Government of New Brunswick)

According to Austin's letter to AIM, operations at the Moncton site have "intensified and changed" since AIM took over from the previous licence holder in March 2023. AIM was also found guilty of operating without a salvage dealer's licence in November.

In addition, the operations are too close to a river, and appliances and other debris fell or were pushed within 30 metres of the water.

The site is within 300 metres of two public parks, a playground, and a children's centre, all of which are against the Salvage Dealers Licensing Act and the Unsightly Premises Act. There are also 200 residential homes within 300 metres of the operation, Austin said.

"These facts raise further concerns about the AIM operations and whether it is in the public interest for AIM to continue to hold a salvage dealers licence for this location, and whether that licence should be suspended or revoked."