Saint John: Develop uptown but don’t change anything

Saint John: Develop uptown but don’t change anything

Saint John — Concerns over another decrepit building in uptown Saint John has sparked controversy between business interests and heritage advocates.

This week, city councillors called upon J.D. Irving to restore a dilapidated building that they own next to a picturesque graveyard as well as their company headquarters.

However, J.D. Irving spokesperson Keith Merry pushed back yesterday, saying, “Um, no. We want to develop the land, not rebuild an 80-year-old building. Why would we spend hundreds of thousands on that building to make it look and work exactly the same?”

Thus continues the familiar struggle between parties interested in developing uptown Saint John, and uptown Saint John lovers who desperately want investment in the city core — as long as nothing changes ever no matter what and they get to tell those developers how to spend their own money.

Similar controversies have been sparked in recent years over the Paramount Theatre, Jelly Bean houses and Gothic Arches.

“Really, our ideal scenario is someone comes along with a dump truck full of money who is interested in property development in Saint John,” said city councillor Donna Hickey. “They can back it up to city hall, and then we will tell them how to spend it to restore buildings that no one else wants back to the state they were in when no one wanted them in the first place.

“Or! Or, they can do whatever they want with the building, as long as it looks exactly the same from the outside.

“That way, no one has to deal with even a tiny bit of change and get all bitchy at us.”

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