The Saint John Port Authority announced today it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Irving Oil Limited that would see development of a new building complex on the Long Wharf property in Saint John’s inner harbour. The development would provide space for a new Irving Oil building and would also enhance public access to the city’s waterfront via  Harbour Passage with the addition of new walking trails and park space. Irving Oil would also contribute to the redevelopment of the Fort La Tour National Historic site as part of the site’s landscaping and public space.

The Saint John Port Authority would retain ownership of Long Wharf’s water frontage, and both Irving Oil and the Port Authority would work closely together to develop the site for both cruise ship passengers and public use. The Long Wharf site would continue to be used as a secondary berth for cruise ships visiting Saint John.

Under an agreement worth approximately $10 million, Irving Oil would lease the Long Wharf property from the Saint John Port Authority. Contained within this leased land would be a parcel of land that would be owned by Irving Oil and would be the location of the new building. This agreement is dependent on the City of Saint John agreeing to sell the former Lantic Sugar site to Irving Oil, at fair market value, for the purposes of immediately transferring ownership to the Saint John Port Authority. “Today, we are securing the future of the working port”, stated Stephen Campbell, Chairman of the Board for the Saint John Port Authority. “The sugar refinery site will be incorporated into the Lower Cove terminal and connect this facility with the Potash Terminal, providing contiguous marine facilities for present and future marine cargo operations in this area. This will protect the integrity of the working port, now and in the future.”

“The MOU calls for the exchange of the sugar refinery site for a comparable portion of Long Wharf to accommodate an exciting project, which will enhance both our cruise business and the waterfront area of the City,” observed Captain Al Soppitt, President and CEO of the Saint John Port Authority. “With this exchange, we will be retaining the marginal berth area as our secondary cruise terminal, and we know Irving Oil’s development on Long Wharf would be done to the highest standards, should it proceed. With approval of this project, cargo operations on the East side will in future be concentrated at Lower Cove and the newly acquired Lantic Sugar site.”

“Our company has been encouraged by a number of organizations in the community to remain in the uptown area and consider development on the waterfront,” says Blaine Higgs, Director of Logistics for Irving Oil. “The Saint John Port Authority has helped make this idea a reality by showing vision and a willingness to work together on a solution that meets the needs of the whole community. The community’s encouragement, along with the Port’s vision and Saint John’s continued growth as a great place to live and work, has led to this exciting announcement. We look forward to receiving the community’s input and working with them to develop plans for the waterfront that would be enhanced and made accessible to the public as part of this development.”

The agreement is subject to federal government approvals and is conditional upon the Saint John Port Authority and Irving Oil reaching a final agreement on property layout and detailed design. Construction on the Long Wharf property would begin when all approvals are received. The proposed project would take two to three years to build and would create hundreds of direct and indirect jobs during construction.

Irving Oil’s proposed development would be constructed under the Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, reflecting Irving Oil’s commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability. The LEED system is a rigorous standard for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.

The Port of Saint John, New Brunswick’s largest and most diverse marine gateway, is a bulk and break bulk port with the capacity to handle containers and is the second busiest port of call for cruise ships operating in Atlantic Canada.

The Port is a commercially viable, self-sufficient business enterprise and a cornerstone of the local economy. It is a critical component of the region’s transportation infrastructure essential to many of New Brunswick’s major industries engaged in international trade and provides deep-water, ice-free access to shipping year round.