Votre quartier! - City of Saint John



Votre quartier! - City of Saint John
Technical Background Report: Fact Sheets
A municipal plan is a legal document
that provides a long-term development
vision for a city and defines where and
how people will live, work, and play. In
2009, the City of Saint John began the
process of creating a new municipal plan
that will respond to the changing realities
of the City. The Plan, which will provide
a policy framework to guide the physical
development of the City over a 25-year
period, will respond to local community
needs and issues, while meeting provincial
requirements as set out in the Community
Planning Act (1973).
The following ten Fact Sheets provide
summaries of the chapters included in the
Technical Background Report. While each
chapter is listed separately, none is
mutually exclusive and the findings of
each chapter should only be understood
in relation to one another.
The new Municipal Plan will be based in
part upon the findings of the Technical
Background Report: An Analysis of
Existing Conditions in Saint John, NB,
which is now nearing completion, and in
part upon public input. The report
examines the City’s patterns and needs
related to the use of land.
Once finalized, the Technical Background
Report will serve as the source document
for data and information related to a wide
range of urban issues affecting Saint John.
The report will provide an assessment of
existing conditions in the following areas:
Population & Demographics
Development Trends & Use of Land
Industrial Land Use
Municipal Servicing
Transportation & Circulation
Parks & Recreation
Arts, Culture, & Heritage
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The focus of the Technical Background Report will be on the City of Saint John. However, in many cases, data has been
analyzed, or is only available, at the regional level. For the purposes of this report, the Greater Saint John Region is defined
as the Saint John Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), which includes the Towns of Quispamsis, Rothesay, Grand Bay-Westfield
and Hampton, as well as other surrounding villages and parishes.
Within the City, development patterns have created three distinct subareas: the urban core, suburban neighbourhoods, and
rural settlement areas. Each is defined by a variety of characteristics including built form, development and population density,
and urban structure. These three subareas, shown on Fact Sheet 5: Development Trends & Use of Land, allow for statistical
comparisons within the City’s boundaries.
Fact Sheet 1: Population & Demographics
Key Points to Consider:
• The population of the City
of Saint John has steadily
declined since the early1970s. The City is now
25% smaller than it was in
the early-1970s.
• Saint John residents now
account for 56% of the
Region’s population. In
1971, they accounted for
• The majority of the City’s
population loss has
occurred in the City’s
• The population as a whole
is aging, led by the “baby
boomer” generation (aged
• The City has a higher
concentration of young
adults and young
professionals than
surrounding communities.
Saint John is the largest City in New
Brunswick. Saint John’s population peaked
at 89,000 in the 1970s but has
experienced a steady decrease over the
years. The population totaled 68,000
people in 2006. Generally speaking,
population growth in Canadian cities is
attributed to newcomers arriving in a city,
whether born in or outside Canada. Like
many smaller cities in the country, Saint
John has not been attracting enough
newcomers to compensate for declining
birth rates and for residents moving out of
the city.
Numerous factors have impacted the
City’s loss of population. The most
significant population loss occurred in the
1970s into the mid-1980s as a result of
major infrastructure projects (such as the
Saint John Throughway and the Mackay
Highway extension) and the subsequent
opening of new lands for development in
places such as Rothesay and Quispamsis.
This period also coincided with slowing
population growth at the national level.
In more recent years, the population loss
has slowed, but nonetheless persisted.
Economic factors, higher rates of deaths
than births, an aging population and the
out-migration of youth and members of
household-forming age groups have all
Population Change in Saint John CMA (1971-2006)
• 1 in 5 Saint John
residents live in poverty,
40% of whom live in
one of the City’s five
priority neighbourhoods.
Source: R. MacKinnon based on Statistics Canada data
been contributing factors in recent years.
Meanwhile, the Region’s population has
largely remained steady.
Between 2001 and 2006 the City’s
population dropped by approximately
1,600 residents. 88% of the population
loss that occurred during this time
happened in the City’s urban core. The
rate of population loss in the urban core
was six times higher than that which
occurred in the rural settlement areas and
twelve times higher than the population
loss that occurred in the City’s suburban
neighbourhoods. In spite of this, the urban
core remains the most densely populated
area of the City.
City of Saint John Population Trends (1996-2006)
Source: Statistics Canada
Three dominant population trends are
occurring in the City of Saint John: the
largest age group (25 54) is shrinking; the
young population (0-14) is rapidly
declining; and the overall population is
Incidence of Poverty in Saint John and Elsewhere
As Saint John’s population continues to age, environmental
concerns persist, and the supply of traditional energy sources
declines, there is potential to make the City an attractive
location for compact, sustainable living.
Most projections—local, regional, provincial and national—
indicate that the City of Saint John should prepare for no
growth and possible continued decline into the future. The
New Brunswick Department of Education, as an example, is
anticipating a 29% drop in enrollment in School District 8 by
Source: Vibrant Communities Saint John
The 2008 Poverty and Plenty II report, completed by Vibrant
Communities Saint John, indicates that the City suffers from
higher incidences of low income than provincial and national
averages. As of 2006, more than one in five Saint John
residents lived in poverty. Crescent Valley, the Lower West
Side, the Old North End, the South End, and Waterloo
Village have all been deemed “priority neighbourhoods” due
to their high rates of low income households and are home
to 40% of those residents living in poverty. Another 60% of
residents in poverty live in other neighbourhoods throughout
the City.
Based on an analysis of existing projections and actual rates
of population change since amalgamation, a range of
population scenarios have been created for 2035. The
scenarios put forward in the Technical Background Report
see the City going from continued decline to modest rates
of growth, anywhere from 45,000 to 70,000 residents. It is,
however, important to note that residential population is only
one indicator of growth for a city.
School District 8 Enrolment Projections (2005-2025)
Saint John’s 29,000 households account for almost 60% of
all households in the Saint John Region, yet they earn 85
cents to every dollar earned by households throughout the
entire CMA. The City’s median household income stood at
$41,459 in 2006.
Household sizes are also falling. The City of Saint John
displayed the lowest average household size in the CMA at
2.3 (the CMA average is 2.4), most likely a result of the
aging population and higher proportion of young adults who
tend to form smaller households.
Source: New Brunswick Department of Education
Challenges and Opportunities:
As the municipal planning process moves forward, questions surrounding the challenges and opportunities
facing Saint John will form part of future discussions with the public:
Will Saint John be a city of 70,000? 60,000? 50,000? 45,000?
How can we best plan for current and projected sizes?
How do we plan investments to make Saint John attractive for newcomers and returning residents?
For example, diversifying our Francophone population.
How can we increase our City’s diversity?
How do we continue to improve our quality of life in the face of continuing population decline?
How do we take advantage of new market opportunities that may emerge with an aging population?
Fact Sheet 2: Housing
Key Points to Consider:
• 44% of the City’s housing
stock is rented. The City
holds 87% of the Region’s
total rental stock.
• Saint John’s housing stock
is one of the oldest in the
region with 86% built prior
to 1986.
• 42% of the City’s housing
stock is single-detached
• 1/3 of housing is valued
between $100-150,000,
which is considered
affordable for the average
family household.
Housing is the most dominant building
type in any city and is a critical element
of any municipal plan. There are 32,000
private dwelling units in the City, with just
under 3,000 being vacant or owned by
landlords or other investors from outside
the City.
Apartment units (including condos, rentals
and other multi-unit buildings) comprise
the largest portion of the City’s housing
stock, followed by single-detached
houses. In contrast, single-detached
houses are the dominant dwelling type in
both Fredericton and Moncton.
The percentage of owned units differs
significantly among Canadian cities.
Home ownership in the City of Montreal is
34% while in the City of Calgary it stands
at 72%. The City of Saint John’s housing
stock is comprised of 56% owned
dwelling units and 44% rented units. The
City represents 87% of the CMA’s total
rental housing stock, but represents less
than half of the region’s owned housing
Nearly 44% of the City’s housing stock
(14,000 units) was built prior to 1960 and
is more than 50 years old. Some of these
dwellings are highly valued for historic or
architectural reasons. However, many are
in poor condition and 9.4% are in need of
major repair. Fewer dwellings in
Fredericton (7.4%) and Moncton (6.4%)
are in need of major repair.
Between 2001 and 2006, the City’s
housing stock grew by 1.2% (406 units).
During this same period, the proportion of
owned units increased from 54% to 56%.
Movement into the ownership market is
a result of a variety of factors including
increased housing options, employment
and income growth and favourable
interest rates.
Dwelling Types in New Brunswick Cities (2006)
Tenure Rates in New Brunswick Cities (2006)
Source: Statistics Canada
Source: Statistics Canada
• Regional housing starts
dropped to 659 in 2009
from 832 the previous
• Existing homes priced
below $150,000 was the
most active re-sale
category in 2009,
representing 44% of all
• The Saint John CMA has
the slowest rate of household formation (1.8%) of
all 33 Canadian CMAs.
Total Dwelling Units by Value, Saint John CMA (2006)
Source: Statistics Canada
More than half (59%) of the Region’s housing market is
valued at less than $150,000. 15% of houses are valued at
more than $200,000.
In the City of Saint John, housing construction peaked in
1991 and 1998 with 55% and 60% of total regional starts.
A soft recovery occurred in 2008 after years of continued
loss of new housing construction to surrounding communities
such as Rothesay and Quispamsis.
In 2009, housing construction and sales of existing homes
moderated and created a “balanced market.” New home
construction and listings and sales of existing homes indicate
that the average household is generally well-served by the
City’s and Region’s housing market. The average sale price
of an existing home increased 9% to $175,000 in 2009.
In 2006, 9.6% of households in the Region spent more
than 30% of their income on housing, lived in housing that
is too small for the number of occupants, or lived in
housing that needed major repairs. This is an improvement
from 11.2% in 2001 and is lower than the Canadian
average of 13.6%.
It is generally accepted that a household should pay no
more than 30% of gross income for shelter costs. Some
homeowners spend more than this because they are able
to, but many renters often have fewer choices. 37% of
rental households in Saint John pay more than 30% of
gross income for shelter; a problem that tends to be
experienced more by single-parent families, seniors and
single-person households.
Despite the general affordability of Saint John’s housing
market in relation to other Canadian cities, many Saint
Johners can’t afford market housing even at the lowest
market rent because of the high percentage of people who
live in or near poverty. Homelessness is another important
issue in Saint John. It’s not possible to offer a precise
number of people who are homeless. However, social
agencies estimate that there are at least 200 homeless
individuals in Saint John.
Share of Regional New Unit Housing Market, City of Saint John (1985-2009)
There are nearly 7,800 rental units in Saint John with a
vacancy rate of 3.6% in 2009 (up from 3.1% in 2008). The
rental market remains balanced with vacancy rates within the
4% range that is generally considered normal. Average
market rents in the City increased from $587 to $613.
Source: Hemson Consulting Ltd. based on Statistics Canada data
Challenges and Opportunities:
As the municipal planning process moves forward, questions surrounding the challenges and opportunities
facing Saint John will form part of future discussions with the public:
Should the City promote different types of housing (apartments, condos, single-detached homes, etc.)?
Where would these different types of housing be best located?
How can more diverse types of housing best be integrated into existing neighbourhoods?
How can the City support a range of housing options and choices?
How can we manage increased housing vacancies due to a decrease in the number of households?
Fact Sheet 3: Economy
The City of Saint John is the economic
centre of the region and of southwestern
New Brunswick. The City is home to the
majority of the region’s employers, which
are scattered across the City’s territory.
Key Points to Consider:
• Employment patterns have
shifted towards service
sector employment (77.5%
of workforce).
• The Saint John Region is
more industrialized than
other cities with 18.9% of
residents working in
secondary industries
related to manufacturing.
• Saint John faces
significant challenges
creating a highly-skilled
workforce for priority
sectors including energy;
ICT; health sciences;
and a variety of industrial
sectors, however this has
• The City of Saint John is
the regional employment
centre for the Saint John
Region and southwestern
New Brunswick.
Saint John is the regional centre for
services related to health and education; a
major centre for telecommunications and
manufacturing; a popular destination for
tourists and conventions; a transportation
hub for road, rail and port facilities used
to distribute goods; and the cultural hub
of the region.
Over the years, the region has developed
a robust service industry, which represents
the bulk of employment for residents
(77.5%). In contrast, employment in the
primary (4%) and secondary (19%)
industries has trended downwards since
the mid-1990s.1
Employment Distribution (2006)
The average annual rate of employment
growth in the Saint John Region between
1996 and 2006 stood at 1.7%. The only
periods of decline occurred in 2001
(closing of the Lantic Sugar Refinery) and
in 2003 (closing of the Saint John
Drydock). The average annual rate of
employment growth in Saint John has
been comparable to Fredericton, but
somewhat lower than Moncton. All three
cities exhibited higher rates of employment
growth than the provincial average.
True to its industrial image, Saint John
exhibits higher proportions of its labour
force in occupations related to the trades
and manufacturing than Fredericton and
Moncton. However, the majority of Saint
Johners are employed in service industry
In spite of the occasional period of
employment decline, the labour force of
the Saint John CMA is 6.8% larger today
(in absolute numbers) than it was in 2003
and is larger than anytime previously in
the past eight years.
1 Primary includes agriculture, forestry and mining;
Secondary includes manufacturing, construction and
utilities; Service includes retail trade, transportation,
finance and insurance, health care, government
services, etc.
Rates of Growth in Employment (2000-2006)
• Jobs have become
increasingly decentralized in Saint John.
• Saint John has lower
unemployment rates than
provincial and national
Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey
Source: Hardy Stevenson and Associates based on Statistics
Canada Labour Force Survey data
Education and employment characteristics are important
indicators in determining the well-being and mobility of
residents. One of the key factors influencing employment
levels is educational attainment.
Many of the opportunities in the emerging economies will
require highly skilled employees with specialized education or
training beyond high school in order to grow and succeed.
47.6% of Saint John residents have achieved some form of
post-secondary education (compared to 53.4% in Canada).
Saint John’s strength lies in completion rates for trade
certificates and college programs, which stand at 32.3%.
However, university completion rates (15.3%) are below
provincial and national averages.
Unemployment rates in the Saint John Region have
historically been lower than the provincial average, but
significantly higher than the national average (in the late1980s the region’s unemployment rate stood at more than
13%). However, in 2006 the unemployment rate dropped
to a low of 4.6%, significantly lower than the provincial rate
of 10.3% and lower than the Canadian average of 6.8%. In
2009, the regional unemployment rate had risen to 6.6%,
still well below provincial and national averages.
Labour Force Characteristics for Saint John CMA (2004-2010)
The majority of the region’s jobs are located in Saint John,
which has positioned the City as the regional employment
centre. Employment lands are spread out across the City:
the Uptown (or the Central Business District)
Saint John Regional Hospital & UNB Saint John
Commercial areas such as Fairville Boulevard,
Rothesay Avenue, Thorne Avenue and the
commercial hub around McAllister Place
Industrial/manufacturing areas such as Grandview,
McAllister and Spruce Lake Industrial Parks and the
Port Lands.
Six existing and emerging economic sectors that have the
potential to contribute to a stronger and more diversified
Commercial/Retail (including positioning the
Uptown as a centre for office/retail, finance,
hospitality and culture)
Health Sciences (two hospitals, the new medical
teaching hospital affiliated with Dalhousie
University and the UNB nursing program)
Information and Communication Technologies
(there are more than 50 ICT related firms in Saint
Tourism (cruise ship industry is continuing to grow)
Natural resources (fisheries, minerals and potash)
Energy and Advanced Manufacturing (including
chemicals, plastics, tidal, metal processing and
Emerging Opportunities (green industries)
Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey
Challenges and Opportunities:
As the municipal planning process moves forward, questions surrounding the challenges and opportunities
facing Saint John will form part of future discussions with the public:
What are the most important economic growth sectors for Saint John in the next 25 years?
How can Saint John diversify its economy?
How can the Municipal Plan contribute to attracting emerging economies to the City?
How can the Uptown/Central Business District stay strong in the face of continuing economic and
commercial decentralization?
Fact Sheet 4: Environment
Key Points to Consider:
• Saint John has 10 major
watersheds, including
flood-prone areas along
Marsh Creek.
• Saint John has
experienced 0.2m of sea
level rise over the last 100
yrs and will experience
between 0.4-0.7m over
the next 100 yrs.
• 4.1% of Saint John’s
total area of 33,000 ha
is covered by lakes, most
of which are found in the
rural parts of the City.
• Saint John’s geology is
both a significant asset to
the City and a challenge
for development.
The natural environment is the
greatest defining feature and asset of Saint
John. Throughout the City, the landscape
changes from Fundy’s tidal marshes and
estuaries to towering cliffs overlooking the
Bay of Fundy and the Saint John River. The
City’s extensive coastlines, “world class”
geology and vast forested areas help Saint
John top the list as the most
environmentally diverse city in Atlantic
The significance of Saint John’s geology
has put our region on the shortlist towards
achieving UNESCO Geopark
designation. If achieved, the Geopark
designation would incorporate a number
of sites in the region including the
Reversing Falls, Rockwood Park, Irving
Nature Park, the Fundy Trail Parkway, the
proposed Norton Fossil Forest
Interpretation Center, the Lepreau Falls
Provincial Park and the New Brunswick
Museum. The project would combine a
billion years of geologic history of
geosciences investigation for the region. If
UNESCO grants the designation, it would
offer significant economic and tourism
benefits to the City.
However, this same geology presents
challenges in that rocky terrain requires
specialized construction techniques that
are more intrusive and result in higher
construction costs for new development. A
balanced approach towards development
and understanding our environment’s
natural systems can protect Saint John’s
The effect of Saint John’s growth on
natural wildlife has had some unforeseen
circumstances. While some wildlife
species decline due to habitat loss, some
other species, such as whitetail deer, are
proliferating in many suburban
Local weather patterns have seen
significant changes in the natural
frequency and intensity of major storm
events. Climate change, as evidenced by
increasingly frequent heavy rainfall events
which have impacted the City’s developed
areas, especially those in flood prone
areas, will challenge our traditional
patterns of development and
understanding of natural systems.
The focus on flooding issues in Saint John
occurs primarily along Marsh Creek.
Today, Saint John’s Atlantic Coastal Action
Program (ACAP) has been championing
the Marsh Creek Restoration Initiative
(MCRI) as a project that will combine
many elements of sustainability with the
ultimate goal of transforming a degraded
ecosystem into an example of a fully
functional and integrated urban
Human activities have a significant effect
on the health of water-based and
land-based natural systems and the
species that depend on them. Thinking
about traditional patterns of development
in the future, it will be important to keep in
mind the location of land uses in relation
• Protection of wetlands, natural areas
and corridors, including forested lands
that provide important animal and plant
habitats and foster healthy ecosystems;
• Rising sea levels and extreme weather
• Location of natural resource extraction
Like many cities, Saint John’s growth has been the natural result of low cost gas and oil, an abundance of available rural
land, and the physical constraints of the landscape that pushed development further out from the urban core. Because
neither the cost of land nor the cost of transportation exacts an obvious or immediate penalty, the true cost to our environment
becomes clear only later, as residents drive farther and pollute more.
In response, Saint John’s Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) guides the City toward specific projects and broadbased community actions that work towards long term urban sustainability. Some of the ICSP’s specific projects include
restoration of Marsh Creek, water treatment, and the municipal plan review (PlanSJ).
Water systems are a defining feature of Saint John, which include: the St. John River (which drains 51% of New Brunswick,
13% of Quebec and 36% of Maine); the Kennebecasis River (which defines the City’s northern border); the Reversing Falls;
the Bay of Fundy; 10 watersheds (the Hammond River watershed is the most affected by human activity, including Marsh
Creek, Hazen Creek, Little River and Alder Brook); and many complex wetland systems.
Challenges and Opportunities:
As the municipal planning process moves forward, questions surrounding the challenges and opportunities
facing Saint John will form part of future discussions with the public:
How can the Municipal Plan contribute to the development of a connected system of natural areas,
parks and trails to maintain ecosystem health, preserve animal habitat and enhance quality of life?
What is the best way to protect the City’s wetlands and water systems?
How can Saint John prepare itself for issues related to climate change and sea level rise?
How can the Municipal Plan contribute to the development of planning principles that consider climate
change impact and adaptation?
Fact Sheet 5: Development Trends & Use of Land
Key Points to Consider:
• Despite population decline
since 1971, the City’s
development footprint
continues to expand.
• 42% of Saint John’s
population lives on 5%
of the City’s land base in
the urban core.
• The City’s current
development policies
offset the cost of municipal
infrastructure resulting in
low-density sprawl and
greenfield development.
• Three-quarters of the
City’s land is designated
for park space, industrial
and residential uses.
• Industrial uses are located
throughout the City and in
almost every
Saint John has a long development history
rooted in ship building, trade, commerce
and housing. What began as a compact
and densely populated city, Saint John has
become a large and sprawling
municipality spread over some 315km².
Early land use policies were set out in the
1946 Master Plan of the Municipality of
the City and County of Saint John, which
focused on a variety of development
issues including slum clearances and new
housing, traffic circulation, industrial and
commercial facilities, and municipal
services and amenities. The Master Plan
led to many of the City’s developments
such as the Courtenay Bay Causeway and
the Harbour Bridge.
The 1973 Comprehensive Community
Plan provided an updated policy
framework to help guide development
and growth. The Plan anticipated a rapidly
growing regional population that would
reach about 265,000 by the end of the
20th century. In addition to continued
improvements to infrastructure and
municipal services and amenities, the Plan
envisioned three major development
centres concentrated in the central core
and westerly and easterly parts of the City.
The last ten years has witnessed
development plans that grew out of
continued investment interest in the
Uptown. Many recent projects to transform
the City’s central waterfront have
attempted to re-imagine some of the
City’s industrial lands for new uses,
including the Cruise Ship Terminal
Building, the Lantic Sugar Refinery site and
the former Coast Guard site, among
others. In spite of the recent successes in
the City’s Uptown, the pressures of
residential and commercial
decentralization continue.
Previous residential development
policies encouraged the development of
municipal services and discouraged the
development of private well and septic
systems. The City’s cost sharing program
provided a grant to developers for piping
material and installation. Other
development policies supported
development that increased the share of
regional housing within the City’s
boundaries. Many current practices offset
the cost of providing municipal
infrastructure resulting in low density
residential sprawl.
There are no current residential policies
that target the redevelopment or
upgrading of existing built up areas.
Programs were in place to encourage
residential infill development, as well as
encourage improvements to the upper
floors of buildings in the urban core, but
most were phased out by the mid-1990s.
Since 1996, a total of 1,918 residential
building permits have been issued. The
majority of residential development (83%)
continues to be single-family and semidetached dwellings. Some increases to
row housing and apartment
development have been seen over the
decade. However, in contrast to other
communities, the proportion of permits
issued for single-family dwelling
development has dropped from a high of
95% (2004) to 89% (2008), reflecting the
demographic shift to smaller households.
While comprising only 5% of the City’s land base, 42% of residents live in the urban core. Another 40% of the population
lives in the City’s suburban neighbourhoods (which comprise 19% of the land base) and 18% live in rural settlement areas
(which account for 76% of Saint John’s land base).
Land use designations vary greatly among each of the three subareas. Residential and mixed-use designations comprise
almost 50% of lands in the urban core. Similarly, residential designations account for half of all lands in the suburban
neighbourhoods, with low-density suburban/rural residential uses accounting for the single-largest land use designation in
the subarea. The rural settlement areas, not surprisingly, are dominated by open space.
On the citywide level, land uses can be divided into the following categories: rural (27%); residential (26%); parks (22%);
industrial, pits and quarries, transportation and utilities (22%); and business, commercial and mixed-use (3%). In terms of
major land use categories, industrial uses make up approximately one-quarter of the City’s land base (although much of the
designated industrial lands sit vacant). Another 25% of the land base is designated for rural uses, much of which is
Proportionally speaking, industrial designations are the most prevalent in the urban core at 28% of its land base. They
constitute 17% and 22% of the suburban neighbourhoods and rural settlement areas respectively. Large discrepancies exist
for lands designated for park space. Park lands comprise one quarter (24%) of the rural settlement areas, 17% of suburban
neighbourhoods and only 8% of the urban core. Park lands in the urban core account for only 1.5% of all designated park
space in the City, but are some of the most intensely used recreational spaces in the City.
Challenges and Opportunities:
As the municipal planning process moves forward, questions surrounding the challenges and opportunities
facing Saint John will form part of future discussions with the public:
Do you think the new Municipal Plan should organize land uses differently and if so, how?
Are there land uses you would like to see located closer to or farther away from where you live or work?
How can the Municipal Plan best mitigate potential conflicts between land uses?
Where should new residential development occur in the City?
Should development incentives continue to subsidize residential and commercial sprawl?
How can we achieve more infill and redevelopment of existing buildings?
How can we gradually increase density in our suburban neighbourhoods to help encourage sustainable
Fact Sheet 6: Industrial Land Use
Key Points to Consider:
• Saint John has about
1,100 ha of land
available for development
in its industrial parks.
• Most Saint John
neighbourhoods are
affected by some type of
industrial uses.
• Industrial development
has cut an east-west swath
through the City, largely
following the Saint John
• The One Mile House
Interchange will provide
better access to the
industrial areas and
commercial developments
in East Saint John.
• Saint John enjoys a variety
of intermodal
opportunities including by
air, rail, sea, and ground.
Historical land use patterns in Saint John
resulted in a large number of industrial
uses locating in the City’s central core.
Major transportation corridors with heavy
and medium industrial uses have cut a
swath through the City from east to west.
While almost every neighbourhood in
Saint John is affected by industrial uses, a
large portion of industrial uses are located
in the City’s core, close to the Saint John
Throughway, or along the Bay of Fundy
(on lands primarily owned by the Port
Authority and Irving Group of Companies,
as well as on other privately held lands).
The Zoning Bylaw divides industrial land
uses into 11 different zones allowing a
range of uses from light industrial to
business park uses; and heavy industrial to
quarrying uses. A 2006 amendment to the
Municipal Plan streamlines policies to
better reflect what and where industrial
uses developed and to facilitate the
appropriate location of industrial activities
in the future.
2008 and 2009 saw record sales of
industrial lands for development (48 ha
and 49 ha respectively) by Saint John
Industrial Parks. Traditionally, four to five
hectares were sold annually. Sales have
normalized somewhat in the first five
months of 2010; however they have not
retreated to pre-2008 levels.
Currently, Spruce Lake and McAllister
Industrial Parks offer approximately 250
ha of serviced land for development with
an additional 1,000 ha of unserviced
raw land in Spruce Lake, which may be
utilized as market forces dictate. This is
considered a sufficient supply of land
for industrial uses to meet demand for
the next 20 years and beyond. However,
future industrial development has more to
do with location, suitability, amenities and
transportation linkages than mere quantity
of available land.
Lands designated for industrial uses are
largely contained in three industrial parks:
Grandview, McAllister and Spruce Lake
Industrial Parks, as well as service
corridors along Rothesay Avenue and
Fairville Blvd.
Grandview Industrial Park was Saint
John’s first industrial park. All of the land
was sold by the 1970s and today only the
resale of existing industrial buildings and
land occurs.
McAllister Industrial Park was
created in 1974 to capitalize on the
success of Grandview and rapid industrial
expansion occurring on the east side
of the City. Zoned for heavy industrial,
manufacturing and commercial uses,
today it contains a variety of light and
medium industries. The One Mile House
Interchange will significantly improve
access to this industrial park with the east
side and Throughway, and build upon the
rail access that already exists.
Spruce Lake Industrial Park was
established in 1975 to support major
industrial expansion planned for the west
side. Development began in earnest in the
early-1990s due to its location and
proximity to transportation links. Although
it was originally designated for heavy
industrial development, the only such use
is the Coleson Cove Generating Plant.
Spruce Lake is dominated by light and
medium industrial uses and a small
portion is designated as Business Park.
Assorted land holdings exist in private ownership throughout the City that are zoned for industrial uses and not yet developed.
Various medium and heavy industries are located on major arterials—some that are transitioning from industrial uses to a
combination of light industrial and commercial uses. Fairville Boulevard and Rothesay Avenue are examples.
The Red Head Area and lands adjacent to the Saint John Airport have been identified as “potential locations of future
industrial development.” The Red Head Area may be suitable for large-scale heavy industries, although additional
investigation and studies would need to be conducted. Lands adjacent to the airport may be suitable for a mix of commercial
and light and medium uses. Whether the Red Head Area (close to residential) and the Airport lands (far from services) are
appropriate locations for industry needs yet to be resolved.
The Energy Hub is an economic development strategy for the Saint John Region. Using existing resources and building new
skills through partnerships with local educational institutions, Saint John has the potential to collaborate with existing
industries and promote future growth in areas such as chemicals, plastics, manufacturing, tidal, metal processing and
Three 10-year economic growth scenarios, from slow to rapid economic growth, determined land requirements from a low of
80 ha to a high of 400 ha. Although there is an ample supply of land zoned for industrial purposes, the quality of this land is
in question.
Challenges and Opportunities:
As the municipal planning process moves forward, questions surrounding the challenges and opportunities
facing Saint John will form part of future discussions with the public:
Is the location of current industrial lands appropriate? Are transportation linkages readily available?
What is the state of preparedness for development of these lands?
Are lands currently designated for other uses (such as rural) more appropriate places for industrial
Where could new industry be located? Should industrial uses be clustered in industrial parks?
Is the Energy Hub concept still viable and should Saint John strive to achieve this vision?
How can the Municipal Plan mitigate potential land use conflicts that arise between industrial and
residential areas (such as pits and quarries)?
Fact Sheet 7: Municipal Servicing
Key Points to Consider:
• In 2009, the City
produced 75 billion litres
of water from its Spruce
Lake system and Loch
Lomond /Latimer Lake
• Between 1998 and 2007,
25% of new single-family
homes were built on land
not serviced by the City.
• The City spends around
$3.32 million per year to
service its municipal
territory with stormwater
and sewer systems.
• The Saint John Police
Force has 166 personnel
and the Saint John Fire
Department has 195
permanent and casual
personnel located
throughout the City.
Improving the condition of our vast
network of roads, and funding operations
such as snow removal and street cleaning,
requires massive public investment. The
costs of providing municipal services like
roads, transit, solid waste collection, fire
and police services, and water, sanitary
sewer, and drainage networks, have a
direct relationship with the pattern of
development. The more spread out the
pattern of development, the higher the
costs to the City in delivering and
maintaining these services, leaving the
City with fewer resources to fund other
The extent of the water distribution system
is concentrated in the urban core of the
City. However, there are several suburban
neighbourhoods which are serviced by
relatively long transmission pipes.
Safe, clean drinking water has been
recognized as a priority for Saint John.
The City has developed a plan that will
overhaul the water system, including one
new water treatment plant, two new
storage reservoirs and substantial
infrastructure renewal through a series of
system improvements.
Many rural settlement areas have been
developed without municipal services.
For a variety of reasons, such as groundwater safety, public health concerns, and
the public’s desire for increased services,
there is a significant financial risk that
on-site systems will have to be replaced
with municipal services at some point.
Saint John has one of the oldest
municipal water and sewage systems in
North America and currently releases
untreated sewage into the Harbour. Much
of Saint John’s sewage system, about
60%, was designed to collect both stormwater from streets and sewage water from
homes into a single pipe and to discharge
the contents without treatment into the
Saint John Harbour.
The existing water system also faces some
other serious challenges. The most
immediate challenges are the need for
drinking water treatment and the
deteriorating condition of the City’s aging
water system infrastructure. The City of
Saint John, residents and industry alike,
consumes 75 billion litres of drinking
water per year. This water is carried to
homes and businesses in approximately
100km of water transmission mains and
400km of smaller water distribution pipes.
In recent years, the City has begun to
implement the Harbour Clean Up project
to install separate pipes to enable sanitary
sewer flows to be treated before being
discharged into the natural environment.
The City plans to treat 100% of its sewage
by 2012, largely through upgrades to
existing facilities and completion of the
new Hazen Creek wastewater treatment
Saint John’s 166 police officers provide a variety of services,
including community policing, special investigations, K-9
units, emergency tactical police units and victim services. The
Saint John Police Force (SJPF) operates Community Police
Offices (CPOs) co-located in priority neighbourhood
Community Development Centres, owned and operated by
groups established to develop community capacity. All of
these services help ensure Saint John remains a safe place to
Providing adequate police services within Saint John is a
complex task since the daytime population is considerably
higher with the influx of commuters from outside the city. As a
regionally important employment hub with large retail
commercial shopping areas, large health care institutions,
a university, community college, and provincial correctional
centre, as well as the large land base of the City presents
greater challenges to the SJPF than those seen in other
There are 30 elementary and secondary schools in the City
of Saint John. In 2009, community and education leaders
struggled with the decision to close several local schools,
ultimately opting against such measures. However, as
enrolment continues to decline and schools continue to age,
the need to right size our educational institutions will become
more pressing.
Similar to the local school districts, the University of New
Brunswick’s Saint John campus has been experiencing some
decline in enrolment for the past few years. Alternatively,
enrolment at the New Brunswick Community College has
remained relatively stable during the past six years. The new
Dalhousie medical program at UNBSJ will add to the City’s
post-secondary options.
The Saint John Fire Department has 195 permanent and
casual personnel located in seven fire stations throughout
the City. The demands placed on the fire protection service
in Saint John are unlike most communities in Canada. The
challenges associated with fire protection in Saint John are
primarily due to the large concentration of “high risk”
industrial operations. Another challenge is the significant
number of large, wooden-framed buildings in urban core
neighbourhoods. Many of these buildings are three storeys
tall and are often very close or physically attached to other
wooden structures. Fires in these homes require rapid
aggressive fire attacks as well as search and rescue functions.
The majority of the City falls within a six minute response time
of at least one fire station. However, the geographic
distribution of developed areas and high risk industrial
facilities has resulted in a wide distribution of fire stations.
There are several residential and industrial areas within Saint
John beyond the six minute response time threshold.
Health care in Saint John is provided through two hospitals,
the Saint John Regional Hospital (SJRH),and St. Joseph’s
Hospital. Saint John Regional with a total of 524 beds, is
southern New Brunswick’s primary centre for acute care, and
is one of only two accredited tertiary trauma centres in
Atlantic Canada. SJRH offers long-term mental health
services through a separately managed facility known as
“Centracare”, a 50-bed tertiary care facility that provides
continuous care to individuals suffering from mental health
illnesses. St. Joseph’s Hospital, with a total of 104 beds, is
composed of four key components; Medical/Surgical
Hospital Services; Community Health Centre; Women’s
Health Centre; and Health and Aging Program.
Challenges and Opportunities:
As the municipal planning process moves forward, questions surrounding the challenges and opportunities
facing Saint John will form part of future discussions with the public:
How can the City best balance the need to invest in municipal servicing infrastructure (pipes and
treatment plants) and the need to control costs?
To what extent should the City support development in unserviced rural areas of the City?
Can we decrease land consumption per household and increase efficiency in the use of land for
commercial and industrial purposes?
How can the Municipal Plan contribute to equal access to municipal services such as police and fire
services, educational facilities and health institutions?
Fact Sheet 8: Transportation & Circulation
Key Points to Consider:
• The City maintains nearly
600km of municipal
• Saint John has 115
residents for every
kilometre of municipal
roads, significantly lower
than both Fredericton and
• Saint John Transit is the
largest public transit
service in New Brunswick
with the most passengers
and the most kilometers
served by transit routes.
• Annual transit ridership is
2.7M with capacity for 5M
passengers annually.
• 1 in 5 residents living the
City’s urban core walk to
• 81% of residents in rural
settlement areas drive to
Most Saint Johners travel east and west
across the City and into the Uptown,
though a growing number of movements
are going north and south to and from
UNBSJ and the Hospital. Efficient wellplanned transportation systems should
integrate all transportation options—
walking, cycling, transit and driving.
Intermodal transportation links
connecting the street network with rail,
port and airport facilities are also
important to the economic vitality of a
The City of Saint John has 760km of
roadway within its boundaries, of which
almost 600km are municipal streets.
This is the equivalent of one kilometer of
municipal road for every 115 residents.
Both Fredericton and Moncton have more
residents supporting each kilometre of
road (167 and 159 respectively). Saint
John has a high number of roadway
kilometers to be maintained, but they
serve fewer residents than other cities. This
creates challenges when financing road
The Reversing Falls Bridge and Harbour
Bridge provide the only east-west roadway
connections with a combined daily
crossing volume of 53,500 vehicles.
Approximately 100,000 vehicles enter
and exit the Peninsula on a daily basis,
plus hundreds of other travelers by way of
transit, walking and cycling. Traffic growth
throughout the City has been relatively
strong over the past 30 years. This is
indicative of increased regional activity
and economic growth.
A lack of direct and convenient
connections between various parts of the
City continues to be a challenge. One
Mile House Interchange will help to
improve connectivity, with a direct
connection between the Saint John
Throughway and the east side industrial
areas. The Province has plans in place
to upgrade the Route 1 corridor from St.
Stephen to River Glade that will include an
additional eastbound and westbound lane
for the Mackay Highway. This
development will have long-term impacts
on the City.
Saint John Transit has been very
successful, with a ridership of some 2.7
million passengers per year and growing.
It is the largest public transit service in
New Brunswick with the most passengers
and the most kilometers served by transit
routes. It has a 50% higher ridership than
average (compared to other Canadian
cities with a population between 50,000
and 150,000). There are opportunities to
enhance transit both within and outside
the City, building off initiatives already in
place by Saint John Transit and the
Parking Commission, including enhanced
commuter express routes (Comex), parkand-ride facilities, ridesharing programs
and transit nodes or transit-oriented
development (more dense development
patterns that help support transit service).
Average Annual Daily Traffic History on Harbour Bridge & Reversing Falls Bridge (1978-2008)
• Harbour Passage is a
popular multi-use pathway
that could become the
“highway” of a connected
active transportation
Source: New Brunswick Department of Transportation
The City’s waterfronts and diverse landscapes offer an excellent opportunity for a network of walking and cycling trails for
both recreational users and commuters. Harbour Passage is a popular multi-use pathway along the Saint John waterfront
that could become the main artery of a connected active transportation network for commuting and recreation throughout
the City. Bike lanes have recently been added to a number of City streets, with plans in place to create a trails and bikeway
network of almost 200km.
The Saint John Airport serves 200,000 to 250,000 passengers annually and ridership has growth considerably in recent
years. The vision of the Airport is to be the preferred airport in Southern New Brunswick.
The Port of Saint John provides the interface between land and water transportation. For the most part, road and rail
connections are adequate, with most port facilities being located close to rail facilities and the Saint John Throughway. These
efficient connections need to be maintained as the City develops and the transportation system evolves over time. The Port
has a wide range of facilities to handle all types of cargo and vessels, as well as passenger/cruise ships. The cruise ship
business has seen tremendous success and is expecting to accommodate more than 200,000 visitors in 2010.
Saint John also has an extensive rail network to serve its port and industrial sectors. The importance of rail transportation
will likely increase as energy costs increase in the future. There are opportunities for future heavy industrial (rail dependant)
development on the west side of the City due to the available railway capacity and infrastructure. There may also be potential
to develop a future commuter rail service using available capacity on the lines along the St. John River and the Kennebecasis
River valleys.
Commuting Patterns
The closer a person lives to the urban core, the more services and amenities they have within walking distance. The farther a
person lives from the core, the more likely they are to drive a car than to walk, take transit or ride a bicycle to get to work or
do their errands. Of particular interest:
2 out of every 3 Saint John residents (66%) drive to work;
Residents of the urban core rely significantly less on cars to get to work. 35% take transit, walk or bike;
In surrounding communities such as Rothesay and Quispamsis, only 3% of residents take transit, walk or bike.
Challenges and Opportunities:
As the municipal planning process moves forward, questions surrounding the challenges and opportunities
facing Saint John will form part of future discussions with the public:
What missing transportation links should be added to the City?
How can the burden of municipal infrastructure be reduced?
How can the City continue to build upon the success of Saint John Transit to further increase ridership?
Are there ways that Saint John can become a more walkable and active community?
How can the Municipal Plan help reduce dependence on the automobile and encourage more
residents to walk, cycle or take transit?
Fact Sheet 9: Parks & Recreation
A community’s quality of life and attractiveness is often evaluated on its recreational
facilities and the range of leisure programs and opportunities it can offer its residents.
Key Points to Consider:
• Many of Saint John’s
recreation facilities were
constructed to serve a
population 25% larger
than it is today.
• In spite of so many
facilities, there is a
perception that existing
facilities are not
adequately meeting
current community needs.
• High levels of poverty
place additional pressures
upon the City to ensure
recreation services are
accessible, geographically,
economically, and socially.
• School closures due to
declining enrolment will
have an impact on
recreation services.
• Access to water is an
important recreational
opportunity. Currently,
public access to the
waterfront is limited.
As the City continues to lose population, the provision of high quality recreational
services will continue to become more expensive. Coupled with the continued aging of
many of facilities, the City will struggle to maintain current service levels.
Many of Saint John’s facilities were constructed to serve a population that was 25%
larger than it is today. In most cases, this means that the City is home to more facilities
than benchmark standards suggest are necessary. As the City continues to lose
population, the provision of high quality recreational services will continue to get more
More than any other piece of recreational infrastructure, playgrounds demonstrate the
oversupply of facilities in Saint John. Provision standards suggest there should be one
playground for every 5,000 residents. There are 71 playgrounds located in the City,
which is the equivalent to one playground for every 958 residents.
Saint John has a long and proud history of parks and green spaces. As the first
incorporated city in Canada, it also became the first city to set aside land for public
squares in its Royal Charter of 1785. Today, the City is home to more than 1,130 ha
of parks and 23,900 ha of open space, which together account for the majority of the
municipality’s total territory.
The City of Saint John has a variety of recreation infrastructure, including indoor and
outdoor facilities, playgrounds, parks and open space. Indoor facilities, including all
built structures with a roof, are centrally-clustered in the City’s urban core, including
the Canada Games Aquatic Centre, the YMCA-YWCA and numerous schools, among
Unlike parks, which can serve as both structured and unstructured recreational spaces,
the City’s outdoor facilities, including recreational fields, tennis courts, baseball
diamonds and skate parks, are the primary location of Saint John’s active recreation
and sporting needs. Four city sports complexes, Memorial Park, Shamrock Park, Allison
Grounds and Forest Hills Park, serve as the primary sporting hubs of the City.
Challenges and Opportunities:
As the municipal planning process moves forward, questions
surrounding the challenges and opportunities facing Saint John will form
part of future discussions with the public:
How can the City improve its parks and recreation opportunities?
What areas of the City are oversupplied or undersupplied with
parks and recreation opportunities?
How can Saint John provide services to local residents while
meeting regional demand?
What role should neighbourhoods play in the provision and
location of recreational opportunities?
Are there locations where the City should consider changing the nature or function of existing parks or recreation facilities?
Fact Sheet 10: Arts, Culture, & Heritage
Saint John is the oldest incorporated City in Canada and marks its 225th anniversary in
2010. This significant milestone is an opportunity for the “Original City” to celebrate its
creativity, arts, culture and heritage.
Key Points to Consider:
• 770 properties are
designated in heritage
conservation areas
throughout the City.
• Heritage grant programs
have leveraged millions
of dollars to help improve
the quality of our heritage
building stock.
• The City has experienced
tremendous growth in the
number of arts
organizations in the past
20 years (from 8 to 55).
• Regionally, Greater Saint
John households spend
18% more on arts and
culture than the average
household in New
• In 2003, the City
established a Community
Arts Board to support and
promote arts and culture in
the City.
• In 2009, Saint John spent
6.6% of its annual budget
on culture and recreation.
Historic and cultural resources like the Imperial Theatre, Saint John Arts Centre and
New Brunswick Museum are some of the City’s major assets.
Saint John has a wealth of distinctive architecture and heritage buildings. The City
began a program of historic building preservation in the late-1970s by creating the
Preservation Review Board (now the Heritage Development Board) with a role to advise
and approve changes to the exterior of buildings within heritage preservation areas.
In 1981, the Saint John Heritage Preservation Areas Bylaw was approved. Today, 770
properties are designated in heritage conservation areas such as Trinity Royal
Preservation Area, Orange Street, Princess Street, Quinton Farmhouse, portions of
Douglas Avenue and portions of King Street East and West, among others.
The new Provincial Heritage Conservation Act, gives municipalities more flexibility to
tailor bylaws to meet community interests. Future provincial heritage designations will
be known as “Provincial Heritage Places” and will also include areas of archaeological
and paleontological significance.
In spite of its rich built heritage, it is the people of Saint John that are the City’s
strongest asset. Saint John has a strong culture of people who work in the arts of music,
dance, theatre, visual arts, film and writing.
The Francophone community has a strong presence in Saint John due to enhanced
community pride and development, as well as legislative requirements regarding
bilingualism. The increased number of French immersion programs in Greater Saint
John has fostered an appreciation of the Francophone community as an asset that will
continue to shape Saint John’s cultural landscape.
The same can be said of other cultural communities. More than one in four people who
are visible minorities (28.5%) in the Province call the Saint John Region home. The City
of Saint John is becoming increasingly multicultural as multiple ethnic groups become
more pronounced within the community.
Challenges and Opportunities:
As the municipal planning process moves forward, questions
surrounding the challenges and opportunities facing Saint John will form
part of future discussions with the public:
What kind of cultural and creative opportunities would benefit
Saint Johners and help to attract newcomers and visitors?
What should Saint John’s approach to heritage conservation be
in the new Municipal Plan (examples might include programs to
encourage adaptive re-use, restoration and renovation, or new
legislation to better protect existing resources)?