As I laid awake again for another night of clanks, bangs and grinding steel, metal and horns I wondered when it would happen. I wondered when the explosion would occur and I would be running beside Chris carrying Willow amidst an inferno so grotesque that there’d be no use of even trying as we wouldn’t survive the explosions to begin with. We’d likely be incinerated and scientists would be identifying us through use of dental records.
I spoke with Chris about my fears this morning. He carries the same ones. We live somewhere where the trains carrying toxic crude oil and natural gas outnumber humans five to one. And we live 500 meters from the end of the line where all the tanks are unloaded of their black liquid gold which is then pumped to the Irving Oil Refinery a few kilometres away for refining.
Neither one of us would have purchased homes back in the old neighbourhood that we grew up in had we known there were going to be HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of freight trains unloading there oil in our backyard for Irving to refine.
The stench is more than we can bare at times. It permeates our home and makes it impossible to breath outside or open your windows when the wind is calm and humidity high. Old women and children plug their noses on public transit buses as they near the intersection of Bayside Drive and the Courtenay Bay Causeway and it sickens me that I need to pull the buzzer and step off in the thick of it. The smell has been so bad on occasion that I thought there was an oil leak in my home. I have dashed down and into the basement to check the tank for cracks on more than one occasion. How ironic that my home is heated with oil and that it is some of the most expensive oil to buy in Canada even though it is refined right here in my backyard.
I feel angry and cheated out of the peace and quiet that used to pervade this neighbourhood. The noise pollution level has risen to the point that we rarely sleep through the night anymore. And what is this doing to our six month old daughter.
I’d like the end of the line to be moved or for Irving to buy my home and my boyfriends home so we can relocate at a minimum 2KM away from the end of the line if it’s to be here permanently. I’d like the refinery shut down and converted to windmills but that’s akin to wishing the Pacific ocean clean of plastic debris. These things will not happen in my lifetime.
There are people who tell me to shut up and not say anything because if I want to sell my house I better be quiet about it. WHY be quiet about it… This is everywhere. You.can.not.escape.it. This industry dominates the skyline of of the City of Saint John.
I tire of living in fear, on a constant alert that an all out oil apocalypse is going to happen and no amount of new overpasses and evacuation routes will save my family and I, living here, at the end of the line.
If the Plutocracy can spend billions on retrofitting DOT-111 tanks they can certainly move the end of the line to the refinery or purchase the neighborhood so we can all move. We were duped into thinking a park would be where the terminal is.
Photo Credit – (Selfie) My daughter Willow and