SAINT JOHN – More than half of the residents in the Greater Saint John area believe the decision not to proceed with the Energy East pipeline project will have a negative impact on the region’s economy, says a new poll by Corporate Research Associates.
On a scale of 1 to 10 – with 1 being “extremely negative and 10 being “extremely positive” – 52 per cent of poll respondents rate the impact on the economy between 1 and 3. Thirty per cent of respondents rate the impact as “extremely negative.”
“It is clear to the majority of Saint John residents that the cancellation of the Energy East project will have a negative economic impact on the area’s economy,” said Don Mills, chairman and CEO of Corporate Research Associates Inc., in a release “The question remains, what will replace economic benefits from this lost opportunity?”
In September, TransCanada filed a letter with the National Energy Board (NEB) asking for a 30-day suspension for the proposed project. The company said it wanted to study how the NEB’s decision last month to consider the Energy East’s contribution to upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions will affect “costs, schedules and viability.”
In early October the company decided not to proceed with the application for the $15-million project, which greatly upset community leaders like Saint John Mayor Don Darling, who called this a lost opportunity for the country.
“This was a real test of the federation to come together and we failed,” he said.
He also emphasized the lost opportunity for the city, and he doesn’t know if people grasp the magnitude of the loss.
“I’m not sure folks truly understand that, even at the local level, [it would have been] $2.2-billion in local capital investment, 3,700 person-years of employment during the construction phase, 97 person-years of permanent employment,” Darling told Huddle at the time. “Probably the piece that hurts the most is the $5-million in incremental direct annual property tax revenue for the city. That’s that’s difficult to swallow when we have the extent of the challenges that we have here.”
The CRA poll results indicate that they do believe it was a significant loss to the regional economy.
These results are part of the CRA Urban Report, an independent telephone survey of 300 Saint John (Census Metropolitan Area (CMA)) adult residents, 18 years of age or older, conducted from October 20 to November 5. Overall results are accurate to within ±5.7 percentage points, 95 out of 100 times.