Oct 10

How is arts and culture supported in Saint John?

From PlanSJ documentation: 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.

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 distindive 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, 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.

Oct 10

What recreational options does Saint John provide?

From PlanSJ documentation: 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. 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 expensive.

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 others.

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 Graunds and Forest Hills Park, serve as the primary sporting hubs of the City.

Oct 10

What is Saint John’s transportation infrastructure?

From PlanSJ documentation: 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, well-planned 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 city.

The City of Saint John has 760 km of roadway within its boundaries, of which almost 600 km 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 maintenance.

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 travellers 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  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 ather 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), park-and-ride facilities, ridesharing programs and transit nodes or transit-oriented development (more dense development patterns that help support transit service).

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 200 km.

The Saint John Airport serves 200,000 to 250,000 passengers annually and ridership has grown 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-dependent) 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.

Oct 10

What municipal services are provided in Saint John?

From PlanSJ documentation: 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 programs.

Many rural settlement areas have been developed without municipal services. For a variety af reasans, 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 ta be replaced with municipal services at some point.

The existing water system alsa faces same other seriaus 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.

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.

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.

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 facility.


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 Farce (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 live.

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 municipalities.


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 mast 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 ather 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 core in Saint John is provided through two hospitals, the Saint John Regional Hospital (SJRH),and SI. 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.

Oct 10

What are industrial land uses in Saint John?

From PlanSJ documentation: 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 Boy of Fundy (on lands primarily awned by the Port Authority and Irving Group of Companies, as well as an 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 appraximately 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-same 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 construction.

Three 1 O-year economic growth scenarios, from slow to rapid economic growth, determined land requirements from a low of 80 ho 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.