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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

City Could be Cooling Buildings with Ocean Water by 2012



So far it looks like building a Green Thermal Utility in Saint John to cool and heat uptown buildings with ocean water is feasible. The system of sucking up and storing water from the Bay of Fundy in a thermal unit would be the first of its kind in North America.  Managing Director, David Stewart says the payback period for a centralized system would be about 10 years.

Stewart says there may be significant funding available through both federal and provincial programs if the project moves forward. Saint John could be cooling and heating five of its uptown buildings with seawater by 2012. The feasibility study is expected to be complete by years end, along with a detailed technical concept and piping installation as well as heat exchangers.

Simms Corner Project to Cost a Little Extra



The city has had to come up with an extra 530 thousand dollars for the re-design and construction of Simms Corner. An Engineer’s cost projection for the project estimates the total for phase one will likely exceed the amount budgeted in the 2008 General Fund Capital Program.

Common Council has directed staff to use the 400 thousand dollars set aside for easement and land acquisition, along with surplus funding from the Red Head Road project to offset the additional costs. Meanwhile, city staff are going ahead with the tender process for reconfiguring Simms Corner, Fairville Boulevard and Catherwood Street to Lancaster Mall.

Big Changes For Canadian Blood Services Including Job Cuts



Some big changes are coming to the way Canadian Blood Services operates in Atlantic Canada. The organization is investing $38 million to replace the permanent blood donor clinics in Saint John and Halifax with more modern facilities. It will also build a new production and distribution facility in Dartmouth and open a new permanent blood donor clinic in Moncton.

In Saint John, Canadian Blood Services will move its current blood donor clinic to a new site in the city, but the consolidation of production and some support services at the new facility in Dartmouth will mean a reduction of approximately 17 full-time jobs in Saint John by 2012. Moving forward, all infectious disease testing for blood collected in Atlantic Canada will be performed out of Toronto.

Province Decides Against Special Drivers Licence's



The provincial government is warning residents to act now and get their passports. Premier Shawn Graham says the province will not develop a special driver's licence for border crossings into the United States.

As of June first, all Canadians will require a passport or another acceptable document for crossing the border. Graham says they researched various options for a secure document, but found the cost to residents would be almost as much as a passport, which will still be required.

Court Appearance in Hampton



No word on specific charges for a 37-year old man who will appear in Hampton Court today. Sussex RCMP were called to a home in Waterford yesterday and found a man with a knife threatening people in a home on Urney Road.

Nobody was hurt.

Deadline Day for North End Schools



A self-imposed deadline has arrived for Education Minister Kelly Lamrock. He has said over the past few months he would have a decision on the future of three North End Schools by the end of this month. There is a proposal on the table to consolidate Hazen White and Lorne schools and make Princess Elizabeth an elementary school. District Eight officials says the shrinking student population has forced this recommendation.

We have left a message with the Minister's office but still no word back.

Credit Union Closing on Campobello Island



Residents of Campobello will soon have to travel to the mainland to do their banking.The Charlotte County Credit Union has announced they are closing their branch on the Island.

The ATM machine, the only one on the island, will be removed on Friday with reduced days hours for tellers starting immediately.


Fair Taxes First Not Suprised



The group Fair Taxes First vow to continue their fight for an independent audit of the city pension plan. This after city council last night voted down a motion for a public inquiry of the plan, something they say they never wanted in the first place. Spokes-person Brian Stone tells CHSJ News, whether you are a tax-payer or collecting a pension from the city, there is plenty of cause for concern.

Stone points out his group has never accussed anyone of wrong doing but there is something not right as this problem doesn't seem to have any solution.

Save the Ferry Meeting in Gagetown



The first of what is sure to be several meetings in the coming weeks took place last night in Gagetown. Council called a special meeting to discuss what action can be taken to save their ferry. The province will permanetly dock this vessel along with the Bellisle and Hampstead ferries at the end of next month unless a viable solution can be found to keep them on the water. Councilor Bob McDowell tells CHSJ News, alot of idea's were put on the table but time is of the essence.

Transportation Minister Denis Landry has said what-ever idea's are presented, they can not include government funding. 

Earth Hour Numbers in From Saint John Energy



Saint John Energy saw no difference in the amount of energy consumption immediately before and during Earth Hour. Spokes-person Marta Kelly tells CHSJ News, the numbers didn't fluctuate because many people were taking the idea further and getting young minds thinking about energy conservation.

Kelly says they'll monitor a few extra hours before Earth Hour begins next year.

Two Fires for City Police



A pair of calls kept City Fire Crews busy last night. They arrived at 250 Waterloo Street just after Nine O'clock to find debris in the hallway burning. Crews quickly snuffed out the flames and there was minimal damage. One woman was treated for smoke inhalation but is going to be fine.

Crews earlier arrived at the former Sobeys store to find a chair and couch on fire in front of the building. The flames were smothered and there was no major damage. Both fires are suspicious and being investigated. 

Costco is Officially Coming to Saint John



It's official--- the final paperwork on the land transaction has been completed and Costco is coming. Construction is underway on the site to prepare a pad-ready surface. Costco Wholesale Corporation is the largest membership warehouse club chain in the world based on sales volume.

It's expected the site preparations will be completed by August.

Weather Not as Bad as First Predicted



The good news is we didn't get the volume of snow they were expecting but the bad news is, it continues to snow in Greater Saint John. Freezing rain and rain dominated most of the pattern in this part of the province yesterday but snow has been falling since late last night. Some roads are snow packed and slick so take it easy where-ever your travels take you today.

After spending most of yesterday trying to get thousands re-connected to the grid, NB Power has just over 300 of it's customers still with-out power as of 3:30am this morning. The full three day forecast is coming right up.

Peel Plaza Project Moves Forward



Work on Peel Plaza continues to move forward as common council approved two more pieces of the puzzle last night.  Council has authorized city staff to engage Deloitte & Touche to prepare the Police Headquarters facility management specifications. This will involve workshops with project and Police Commission staff to go through the detailed design of the Headquarters and begin to articulate the building's requirements.

Council has also given the go ahead to have Glenn Group prepare the conceptual landscape design and illustrations for the Public Plaza, as well as the potential impact to the Arts Centre. It's hoped that will be complete by April 9th. The total cost will be around 56 thousand dollars.

City to Advertise for Public Hearing on West Side Levy



The city is one step closer to placing a levy on West Side businesses--despite a recommendation to the Minister by the Department of Local Government to deny the request.  The West Side Business Association wants to levy a Business Improvement Area encompassing 250 businesses in three separate areas.  Provincial staff say the proposed area is too large--but-- Association President, Owen Boyle, says they are not prepared to alter the application.

Mayor Ivan Court says it doesn't make sense to spend five thousand dollars on an advertisement for a public hearing if in the end the province won't approve the levy. Regardless, council has narrowly approved councilor Bill Farren's motion to advertise for a public hearing on the matter.


City Council Cans Plans to Study Feasibility of Pension Inquiry



The city will not be going ahead with a public inquiry into the controversial pension plan. Common council voted against further external investigation or inquiry into the pension board's dealings. But Councilor Donnie Snook says action has and will continue to be taken to improve the plan.

Councilor Bill Farren has been pushing for a public inquiry and is clearly disappointed with council's decision. He and Gary Sullivan were the only two to oppose the motion.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Community Outreach Initiative to Launch for Wellness Awareness



 A community outreach initiative will be coming to a new community centre in East Saint John thanks to a partnership between the provincial government and St. Joseph's Parish.
 Health Minister Mike Murphy says the St. Joseph's Community Health Centre will provide primary health care, as well as chronic disease education and management.
 Murphy says it's about time we start changing the way we look at health care in this province.

 The Regional Development Corporation is providing $200 thousand dollars towards the construction of the community centre, with the hopes of opening by 2010.

Cigarillos Are Out



Also being changed is how people are going to be buying cigarillos. Cigarillos tend to be use candy or fruit flavouring, and can be purchased individually. Murphy says the marketing is trying to appeal to young people, and get them smoking. The change will force cigarillos to be approved under the Tobacco Sales Act, and will also force manufacturers to sell them in packs of 20 or more.


No More Lighting Up Behind the Wheel



The police are going to be on the lookout for anyone smoking with children in their vehcile. Health Minister Mike Murphy announced the change in the legislation today that prohibits smoking in a car with someone under the age of 16 present.

Murphy says law enforcement is going to be on the lookout ready to hand out tickets, but says he isn't sure what the punishment will be yet. He estimates a ticket will run you between $100 and $200 dollars. New Brunswick is the fourth province to adopt this change.

SJ Man Faces 4 Charges After Break In with Weapon



A Saint John man will be in court in the coming weeks facing a number of charges: On the list are break and enter, forcible confinement, assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon obtained in the commission of a crime. RCMP report the charges stem from an incident on March 10th on the Bacon Road in Greenwich.

24-year-old Brian Anthony Cochrane will be in custody until his April 14th court appearance to set a trial date.

Lung Association Happy About New Legislation



No more ligthing up behind the wheel with the wee ones in the car--- the province has implemented legislation making it illegal to smoke with children in the car and restricting the sale of cigarillos--- As you can imagine, the NB Lung Association is thrilled with the new legislation to ban smoking in vehicles with children and restrict the sale of Cigarillos. President and CEO Ken Maybee tells CHSJ News, this has been a long time coming:

The smoking ban in cars for this Province follows similar bans implemented in Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia. 


River Watch Update Bulletin



Another year of winter has come, and for the most part, gone--- but in the face showers yesterday and today, and the forecasted snow in outlying areas River Watch 2009 is keeping a close eye on the province's water levels--- Karl Wilmot tells CHSJ News so far no news is good news:

Today River Watch is advising the public the waterflow will be diminished in the northern part of the St John river due to the forecasted snow--- but the southern portion will see levels increased due to the rain. For more details check out

Premier Travelling to Toronto to Meet with Business Execs



Premier Shawn Graham is packing again for another road trip promoting the province--- He'll be taking along Business New Brunswick Minister Greg Byrne on the visit to Toronto's Bay Street where they'll talk to executives about lower taxes designed to attract investments in the area and new jobs. 

The business minister will visit a National Career Fair in the big smoke while the Premier addresses the Toronto business community at a luncheon with the Economic Club of Toronto.

River Watch 2009 Update Expected Today



Another year of winter has come, and for the most part, gone but in the face showers yesterday and today, and the forecasted snow in outlying areas River Watch 2009 is keeping a close eye on the province's water levels--- Karl Wilmot tells CHSJ News so far no news is good news as they have not had any reports of rising levels of H-2-0 in the province.

An updated advisory is expected to be made today--- in the meantime River Watch 2009 is reminding New Brunswickers who live or work nearby any waterway to keep an eye on the water levels as the warmer weather approaches, melting the snow and ice which have fallen this year and possibly causing floods or ice jams.

Abbey Saint Andrew's Seeking Council's Help



City council will hear a request for help tonight from a mixed income housing project slated to be built this year at the intersection of Duke Street and Charlotte--- Chair of the Abbey Saint Andrew project Peter Jollymore tells CHSJ News they are hoping city council will help with the cost of building permits by waiving the fees or providing a grant in the amount of the permits total costs.

The Church of Saint Andrew and Saint David committee is also asking the city to pay for the costs of refurbishing the sidewalks and curbs surrounding the proposed site. They hope to break ground on the project by the beginning of May.

RCMP Closing in on Thieves



A big break into the investigation of a summer camp that was broken into this month. Grand Bay-Westfield RCMP tell us they recovered quite a bit of stolen property over the weekend that was taken from a cottage on the Brittain Road in Lower Greenwich. They believe the break-in happened between the 15th and 28th of this month.

The stolen items include ATV Helmets, a stereo, computer speakers and two pellet guns were recovered close to where the cottage was broken into. No arrests have yet been made.

Fire in Kennebecasis Valley



There was a fire in the Valley earlier this morning. Crews were called to the Shell station on the Marr Road just after 4:30am. When they got inside, they found a fan in the bathroom had caught fire which they quickly put out.

Nobody hurt and damage was minimal. 

Near Gear Coming in for Valley Fire Department



If your daily commute takes you past the Kennebecasis Valley Fire Department, you may have noticed a new truck in one of the bays. The department received delivery of a new pumper truck about a month ago and it has been in service for about two weeks. Chief Larry Greer tells CHSJ News, as the Valley continues to grow, new gear is a necessity.

Greer adds they still await the arrival of their new Quint Fire Truck which is a combination pumper and ladder truck which should arrive late this summer or early fall. 

Earth Hour Numbers are in from NB Power



The numbers are in and there is plenty to be proud of if you took part in Earth Hour over the weekend. NB Power is reporting  we almost tripled what we accomplished last year with 400,000 lights turned off around the province between 8:30 and 9:30pm compared to 150,000 that were shut down last year.

Still no word from Saint John Energy but we have left a message with the utility.

Schools Closing Because of the Weather



Due to the winter weather and deteriorating conditions of roads in the outlying area's, District Six is closing Apohaqui Elementary, Norton Elementary along with all schools in Sussex and Belleisle. Buses will begin loading up students at noon in Sussex, Norton and Apohaqui. Students in Bellisle will start making the trek home at 12:30pm. 

In District 17.........schools in Cambridge Narrows, Coles Island, Gagetown, Minto and Chipman Area's are closing down for the rest of the day. Buses will start shipping home students at 12:15pm.

Thousands are with-out Power



After most voluntarily shut down the power on Saturday, NB Power crews are busy today trying to get thousands back on the grid who want their power on. Their web-site is reporting over 1300 of it's customers with-out electricity, the hardest hit area in Moncton where over 1000 homes and businesses are in the dark.

Just over 200 are with-out power in St. Stephen and less than ten in the Fredericton area.


Winter Continues to hang on For Some Parts of the Province



Winter just doesn't want to let go, in at least some part of the province. As hard as this may be to hear, there is a heavy snow-fall warning in effect for Sussex, the Kennebecasis Valley and Kings County for the next 36 hours. Saint John will see mostly rain with the exception of a few flurries but the area's I just mentioned could get hit with anywhere between 15-25cm's.

The latest radar shot shots 10cm's this afternoon, another five tonight and more during the over-night. The full three day forecast is coming right up. 

Saint John is a Happy City



A study conducted by the University of British Columbia is calling Saint John the happiest city in Canada. Mayor Ivan Court tells CHSJ News, the demeanor of the residents is how we stay so happy.

One test used in the study was the wallet test where residents say they are confident if they lost their wallet it would be returned fully intact. Moncton and Halifax also cracked the top ten of Canada's happiest cities.

Non-Profit Minister Pleased with Open Forum



Community Non-Profit Organizations Minister Brian Kenny tells CHSJ News, community meetings with non-profit groups helps advance the provincial strategic plan and focus in on the needs of the sector.

Kenny says attending open forums helps him get in touch with what the groups actually need. He adds being readily available to hear from people and learn their concerns is better than looking over a report.

Human Development Council Meets



The Executive Director of the Human Development Council says meeting with government officials and other members of non-profit groups is the best way to advance the sector. Randy Hatfield tells CHSJ News, the open forum over the weekend was a great opportunity to meet with Minister Brian Kenny and find out the progress made delivering on the Blueprint strategic plan.

Hatfield says a main priority for the non-profit sector is to have funds readily available rather than lurching from fiscal year to fiscal year. Members of community non-profit organizations had a chance to network with each other at the forum and Hatfield says it's important to get everyone together in the same place to discuss the battles each faces.

City Councilor Continues Fight



Motions sitting on the shelves will be highlighted tonight as City Council meets at City Hall. Councilor Gary Sullivan is putting forward two submissions aimed at making city staff more efficient including making staff accomplish the tasks they're handed by council. CHSJ News asked Sullivan if it's a common frustration around the horseshoe.

Sullivan adds there are still outstanding motions yet to be acted on by staff. City council meets in the council chamber at seven O'Clock tonight.

Pair of Announcements in Greater Saint John



Health Minister Mike Murphy starts off the new work week with a pair of announcements in Greater Saint John. Murphy will be joined by Social Development Minister Mary Schryer for a news conference on health legislation. Things get started at one o'clock in the gym of Quispamsis Middle School.

Following that, the Health Minister will travel to St. Joseph's Church on the Loch Lomond Road to make an announcement about improved health care services in the Loch Lomond Area. Joining Murphy for this announcement with be Tourism and Parks Minister Stuart Jamieson. Things gets started at 2:30pm.

Early Earth Hour Numbers are In



NB Power and Saint John Energy won't have numbers added up until later today, but all indications point to heavy participation for this years Earth Hour. On Saturday, homes and businesses were encouraged to shut down the power in their home for one hour. More than 285 cities and municipalities from every province and territory participated. Globally, 3,937 cites have reported they took part in the the lights out call.

As many as one billion people may have participated worldwide, including a predicted 81% of Canadians according to a pre-poll numbers. Out of 88 countries that took part, Canada recording the third-highest number of darkened cities.

City Police make Notice of Poverty



City police need to listen when it comes to poverty. That from Sgt Jim Flemming with the Saint John Police Force who attended a recent poverty forum in the city. He tells CHSJ News, there is a heavy misconception about crime and poverty going hand in hand.

Flemming says barriers such as health issues and mental health issues do see some people falling through the cracks of the system--- he says that can sometimes lead to people ending up in court simply because they don't fit into the system.

Woman Hit by Van and Reports of Shots Fired



A woman in her 20's is being treated at the Regional for a head injury this morning. City Police tell us she was hit by a van along Fairville Boulevard just before three o'clock this morning. A van had just pulled out of Westwind Place when the woman was struck. Heavy rain and dark conditions are being blamed on visibility being low and it doesn't appear any charges will be laid.

Officers were also called to the North End just after two o'clock on a pair of reports that shots were being fired. When they pulled onto McLaren Boulevard, they stopped a vehicle with several men in it. A search of the vehicle found a quantity of fire-crackers and officers believe that is the cause of the gun shot like sounds. No charges will be laid.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Gagetown Council Meets To Discuss Ferry Options



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(Save Our Ferries demonstration at the Legislature last Thursday - photo by Gary MacDonald)

Hard on the heels of a noisy demonstration at the Legislature on Thursday -- there is a special meeting of Gagetown council Monday evening to deal with ways to save the Gagetown ferry.
Councilor Bob McDowell tells CHSJ News they are going to look at all options available -- although 30-days doesn't give them a reasonable length of time to come up with solid recommendations.
Transportation Minister Denis Landry has given the Gagetown and Belleisle ferries a 30-day extension before shutting down the services permanently as a cost saving measure.
Monday's special council meeting is being held at the village rec center beginning at 7.

Saint John Man Leading TSN's Most Valuable Coach Contest



Today is the final day to cast a vote for Larry Harlow as Chunky's Most Valuable Coach.
The Saint John man, who coaches the Storm Women's Football Team is currently in the number one spot in the polls.
The winning team gets five thousand dollars and a practice with a professional coach of their choice.
For information on casting a last minute vote head to

Parking Enforcement



Something to think about before heading to bed tonight-- is your vehicle parked in a no overnight parking zone? If so, keep in mind that City police are cracking down on vehicles parked in areas with signs reading "NO parking 12 midnight to 7am".

Police will enforce a zero tolerance policy on violators starting at midnight. All vehicles in restricted zones will be ticketed.

Agent Orange Get Together



A group of people effected by the chemical defoliation spray program at CFB Gagetown will get together in Fredericton tonight to tell their stories. The conversations will focus on the history of the base, the deadly poisons that were sprayed there, who were affected and the health problems that still plague many to this day. Vice President of the Agent Orange Association Art Connelly tells CHSJ News, emotions are sure to be running high.

Time will also be set aside to discuss possibilities for the future. Many are still putting together applications for compensation with the deadline coming up on Tuesday. Tonight's session is scheduled to get started at six at the KC Irving Theater on Regent Street South.

Reserve Sailors Last Day of Training



60 Naval Reserve Sailors from across Atlantic Canada and Quebec will wrap up their security exercise in the Harbor today. The teams have been conducting training including force protection, small boat tactics, port surveillance, jetty security, communications and vessel escorts.

Things finish up this afternoon at four and the training got started yesterday morning. 

Hitting the Lights for Earth Hour



Give yourself a pat on the back if you took part in Earth Hour last night. Homes in Greater Saint John, across the country and the world were encouraged to shut off their lights last night between 8:30-9:30pm. The total number of homes and businesses that took part won't be available until tomorrow as Saint John Energy and NB Power were monitoring the grid last night.

Last year, the equivalent of 150,000 light bulbs in Greater Saint John were shut off.

River Watch 2009



It's that time of year again--- River Watch 2009 is here and the first advisory about the spring freshet season has been issued. All those living or working along waterways are asked to be on alert as the ice begins to shift and melt and be aware of the possibility of ice-jam formations which could see increased water levels.

With the anticipated rain in the forecast over the next few days ice movement is more likely--- An updated advisory is expected tomorrow.

Affordable Housing Coming to Hampton



The provincial and federal government is planning on constructing 32 new apartments for low income seniors in Hampton.
Social Development Minister Mary Schryer and Fundy Royal MP Rob Moore made the announcement yesterday.
The provincial government will be supplying close to $700 thousand dollars in rent supplements for the units.
The 3.5 million dollar project located on Robb Court is expected to be completed by July.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Teddy Bear Fair Celebrates 18th Year



The 18th annual Teddy Bear Fair will be held today a the Regional Hospital to dispel children's fears about the hospital. Staff and volunteers will show children how to put on a cast and stitch up a cut on their beloved stuffed toys, as well as showing them hospital equipment.

Teddy bear boo-boos will be tended to between 9am and 3pm by hospital staff and volunteers.

Affordable Housing in Hampton



Fundy Royal MP Rob Moore will be joined by several other dignititaries for an affordable housing project in Hampton this afternoon.

Things get started at two o'clock at 24 Robb Court and the project involves cash for low income seniors.


Busy Harbour This Weekend--- 60 Reserve Soldiers Training



The Saint John Harbor will be busier than normal this weekend as 60 Naval Reserve Sailors from across Atlantic Canada and Quebec will take part in a security exercise. The teams will conduct training including force protection, small boat tactics, port surveillance, jetty security, communications and vessel escorts.

The training will take place today and tomorrow until four in the afternoon and normal marine traffic will not be disrupted.

Remember Candlelight Safety during Earth Hour



And if you plan to light a few candles during Earth Hour, the Musquash Fire Department is reminding everyone to use them safely. Whether it may be for a romantic purpose or just to throw off some light so you don't run into the furniture, candles can easily be knocked over especially with small children or pets in the home.

Fire-fighters remind everyone to keep them in a safe place so they don't start a fire.

NB Power Onboard for Earth Hour



NB Power is also ready to do their part for Earth Hour. Spokes-person Heather Mclean tells CHSJ News, this is a fantastic initiative:

McLean says like last year, they will track the useage before and during Earth Hour and encourage everyone to take part but keep safety in mind.    

Kill the Lights for Earth Hour Tonight



Saint John Energy officials are geared up and ready for Earth Hour tonight. Spokes-person Marta Kelly tells CHSJ News, they are encouraging all of it's customer's, both residential and business, to do their part:

Kelly says last year the equivalent of 150,000 light bulbs were shut off during Earth Hour in Saint John and they should have this years total counted up by Monday.

Parking Bylaw Protecting You From Tickets--- For Now



It won't be long before those parking along Coburg and Waterloo Streets for longer than 2 hours will be ticketed. The City recently put up signs on the uptown streets indicating 2 hour parking from 8am until 5pm--but--forgot to add those streets to the city's traffic by-law. As it stands now, vehicles cannot ticketed until the by-law is changed.

Common council has passed the first and second reading of an ammendment to the by-law to include Coburg and Waterloo Streets. Third reading is expected to be passed on Monday.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Man Arrested for Attempted Murder



A 52-year old man from Dieppe has been arrested in connection with an attempted murder in Shediac. RCMP responded to a 9-1-1 call yesterday evening around five o'clock about a man pointing a gun at a woman. A neighbour noticed what was happening and managed to intervene convincing the man to put the weapon down. No one was injured and the man was arrested by police in the area shortly after.

He is now facing numerous charges including attempted murder, kidnapping, pointing a firearm, break and enter and uttering threats. He is due in court later today.

Fisheries Ministers Respond to Shrimp Rumors



The provincial Fisheries Minister has released a joint statement today with Quebec regarding persistent rumors the federal minister of fisheries and oceans is about to give greater shrimp access to two other provinces. It's believed federal minister Gail Shea will give Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia larger shrimp quotas for the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Rick Doucet says the shrimp fleet is in great financial difficulty, and any reallocation of shrimp would be disastrous. He says any change to the regional shares of shrimp would create instability for the entire Atlantic fisheries.

Enterprise SJ Unveils Role of New West Side Resource Person



Enterprise Saint John is hoping to build on the momentum of business growth on the West Side. Jay Reid has been selected as the new resource person for West Side development. Enterprise Saint John General Manager Steve Carson tells CHSJ news Reid will work with developers, ward councilors and the West Side Business Association.

Reid is a West side resident and the former executive assistant to former mayor Norm McFarlane.

Three Companies Awarded for Supporting Troops



Three provincial companies are receiving awards for their support to Canada's Reserve Force. Saint John based Innovatia, Dillon Consulting--with offices in Saint John and Fredericton--and--Norampac Moncton Division will be presented with the awards tomorrow at HMCS Brunswicker.

Elisabeth Rybak with the Canadian Forces Liaison Council will hand out the honour at one o'clock.


Fire in Sussex Last Night



A cat and two dogs were killed after fire ripped through an apartment in Sussex last night. RCMP and fire-fighters arrived at the building on Church Avenue to find flames were spotted on the third level of the four unit high structure and spread to the second floor.

Investigators don't consider the fire suspicious.


Update on West and Uptown Fires



The investigation into a fire last week that ripped through three West-Side homes is almost finished. Fire Chief Rob Simonds tells CHSJ News, the cause is not suspicious but exactly what sparked the blaze won't be know until next week. Fire crews were called to 693 Manawagonish Road in the early morning hours of the 17th to find flames in the basement apartment which quickly spread 685 and 687. Nobody was hurt.

Chief Simonds also tells us the mystery of how a fire on Elliot Row the following night started has been solved. It was electrical in nature and left 15 people with no place to call home. 


Jamer Responds to Allegations



A verbal attack by MP Greg Thompson is being defended by the company in the spotlight.....Jamer Materials. The Regional Minister for the Province is also slamming the Provincial Environment Department for it's claims the companies quarry in Bayside poses no health or environmental risks. General Manager of Jamer Mark Clark tells CHSJ News, he has not be told by Fredericton or Ottawa that there will be no environmental impact assessment.

Clark says the company has always been willing to listen to any concerns and looks forward to adressing all of them during a public hearing in the coming weeks.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Military Funeral to be Held Tuesday



A military funeral service for a soldier killed in Afghanistan last week will be held on Tuesday afternoon in Gagetown. New Brunswick resident, Trooper Corey Hayes was killed when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device north-east of Kandahar City on March 20th. He was one of four soldiers killed that day.

The funeral service will take place at St. Luke's Chapel at 1 o'clock March 31st.

MP Accuses Province of Failing to Protect New Brunswickers' Health



The federal Regional Minister for the province, M-P Greg Thompson, is slamming the provincial Department of Environment for its claims that the Jamer Materials' quarry in Bayside poses no health or environmental risks.  Thompson tells CHSJ News the arsenic levels are approximately 180 parts per million - or 15 times the national Guidelines- in the Jamer Material's soil.

Thompson says the contamination threatens the water supply for the entire town of St. Andrews. He says it's clear the province has utterly failed to meet its most basic responsibility of protecting New Brunswick's environment and the health of its people. Environment Minister Roland Hache is declining comment.

We have placed a call to the general manager of Jamer Materials to get his reaction to MP Greg Thompson's comments--but--have not received a reply.  However, in a release dated February 27th GM Mark Clark says there will be safe guards in place for their expansion plans in Bayside. He also says less than one per cent of the watershed will be impacted by those activities.

Neither a federal nor provincial Environmental Impact Assessment will be carried out for the project.

Few Women Hold Senior Management Positions



The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council is challenging the private sector to place more women in senior management positions. ACAP 's quarterly report says women account of only 18 per cent of senior managers in the private sector in this region. It is slightly higher when including the public sector-- at 30 per cent. Rosella Melanson with the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women tells CHSJ News it is to their benefit to have more women in senior management.

When it comes to regular management positions, ACAP says women make up 39 per cent of managers in the Atlantic Region. That is slightly higher than the national average of 37 per cent.

Ferry Demo Fails To Budge Transportation Minister



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(Supporters of three river ferries rally on the front steps of the Legislature - photo by Gary MacDonald)

They carried signs and sang songs -- about 300-people converging on the Legislature over the noon hour to protest the planned cut of the Gagetown - Hampstead - and - Belleisle ferries.
Gagetown mayor Randy Smith says the ferries can be a vital part on Premier Graham's road to self sufficiency -- he says the ferries are part of the rural road system which could turned into a tourism promotion to keep visitors from driving through on the Trans Canada highway.
But -- Transportation Minister Denis Landry isn't backing down -- he says he doesn't have any wiggle room in his budget -- and -- when asked by CHSJ News how many ferries may suffer the same fate next year -- Landry responded we will have to wait until next year.
The communities have until the end of April to come up with solutions to keep the ferries afloat.

Enterprise SJ Selects West Side Resource Person



Enterprise Saint John has chosen UNBSJ graduate, Jay Reid, as its resource person for West Side development. Reid is a West side resident and the former Mayor's Executive Assistant.

Council last year unanimously voted to request Enterprise Saint John assign a staff person to examine the economic needs of the West Side. Councillor Bill Farren has been a champion for business growth on that side of the city. He says there will be a meeting soon to announce a project involving the public and private sector on the West Side for late spring-early summer.

Child Death Review Committee Releases Recommendations



The provincial Child Death Review Committee has released three recommendations today to prevent deaths of children who have been placed under the care of Social Development. The committee was established to investigate the case of a child who died while receiving services from a First Nations child and family service agency.

The recommendations include that written guidelines be established to clarify kinship placement practices,  a clinical audit be carried out to assess the effectiveness of social work practice in First Nations child and family services agencies--and--finally that the Department of Social Development give priority to assessing the need to increase resources for monitoring and support of quality child welfare practices. Social Development Minister Mary Schryer says she will issue a full response to the committee's recommendations within 45 days.


Singing Sisters Look To Grab Top Spot



Would you be willing to let anyone hear you sing the shower? The answer from most would be no but the Breen Sisters from Saint John want you to vote for their tub tune. Jill Breen and her sisters have reached the final of a contest on the Ellen Degeneres show titled your favorite bathroom singer. Jill tells CHSJ News, they are very excited to have gotten this far.

The girls sing ""Sold"" The Grundy County Auction song by John Michael Montgomery. You can see the video and vote for the girls at

Time Ticking for Education Minister



The clock is ticking for Education Minister Kelly Lamrock with five days left in the month. The minister has said he would speak about the future make-up of Lorne, Hazen White St. Francis and Princess Elizabeth by the end of the month. There is a proposal on the table to consolidate Hazen White and Lorne and make Princess Elizabeth an elementary school.

District Eight officials says the shrinking student population has forced this recommendation. A spokes-person in Minister Lamrock's office says a decision would be made by next week. 


Bell-Aliant Chopping More Jobs



Down sizing efforts continue at Bell-Aliant today. The company has announced a voluntary retirement incentive to a limited number of its unionized employees in Atlantic Canada. This will allow senior front-line employees to retire and also supports the companies plan to introduce a more efficient cost structure this year.      

The offer is a financial incentive to some employees, who are already eligible for retirement this year. A total maximum of roughly 120 employees will be able to take advantage of the offer, which will be limited by department, to ensure service to customers is not affected.


The Search for Bodies is Underway near Maine



One body has been found but one is still missing near Eastport Maine today. Coast Guard crews and other local agencies are searching by air and sea after a 34-foot fishing vessel from Lubec, Maine with two people on board is said to have gone down. 

The crew of the fishing vessel Perfect Choice reported by radio to a Coast Guard Station they observed a debris field in Johnson Harbor that contained a survival suit and what appeared to be a submerged boat. The Maine Marine Patrol recovered a body near the debris.


Hit and Run Under Investigation



Rothesay Regional Police are asking for your help as they investigate a hit and run. It was five last night when a vehicle was rear-ended near Colwells Store. The driver pulled over to exchange info with the vehicle that rear-ended him when it circled around him, turned towards Saint John and took off down the road.

Officer's are looking for a small silver colored vehicle which was being driven by a woman with a dark complexion. If you saw this accident and have any info, give police a call at 847-6300.

Confusion Settled over Gas Numbers



The Energy and Utilities Board has made a correction to it's early released gas price schedule. The numbers were dated March.19th which of course is a week ago. The new figures show an increase in the maximum retail price of gasoline at an even 85 cents which is up just under two cents. Most stations are selling a litre of self-serve for 85.3.

Diesel is up over a nickel coming in at 93.3 and furnace oil is up over five cents as well, in at 71.9.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Save Our Ferries Protest Goes To The Legislature




(Belleisle ferry is one of three on chopping block - file photo)

They've gained a 30-day extension -- but -- residents between the Belleisle and Gagetown are planning to march on the Legislature Thursday.
The residents are protesting the pending loss of river ferries in the Belleisle - Hampstead - and - Gagetown as part of the Graham government's cost cutting measures.
The services were scheduled to be shut down at the end of the month -- but -- today in the Legislature -- the government announced it was delaying the shut down by a month to give residents time to come up with some options.

EMO is Predicting No River Flooding this Spring



The provincial Emergency Measures Organization is cautiously optimistic there will be no flooding along the St. John River this year. Hundreds of homes faced water damage last spring when the river's banks overflowed during the thaw and melt. EMO Spokesperson Carl Wilmot tells CHSJ news the risk is much lower this time around because the mass of snow in the upper region of the province is down from last year.

Mayor Still Not Convinced About Merits Of Tax Deal



The mayor remains convinced the controversial tax concession granted for the Canaport L-N-G terminal four years ago was - and - remains a bad deal despite spin off developments being proposed.
Ivan Court says residents deserve something in return for having their quality of life disrupted by energy projects -- and -- that's what he's looking for with any new proposals.
Court does give credit to companies like Irving Oil and Emera for giving back to the community -- he says that's setting a good example for others.

Environmentalist Gives Energy Announcement Mixed Reviews



He's giving some good grades to Irving Oil's announcement of a proposed wind and natural gas fired power power plant -- but -- Gordon Dalzell of the Clean Air Coalition isn't fully enthralled with the fact a large portion of the plant is still relying on fossil based fuel.
Dalzell tells CHSJ News he is happy with the plan to have an energy corridor for transmission lines which will lessen the environmental impact of the lines and pipes.
He says sending more green based energy to the northeastern U-S will lead to a reduction in emissions drifting our way from south of the border.

City To Host Premiers And Governors Conference



Some high profile guests will be in the city later this year -- we will be hosting the annual conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers.
Premier Graham made the announcement during the energy news conference this morning.
The conference will be held in September.

Getting Women into Skilled Labour



The New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women says women are a largely untapped labour pool when it comes to meeting the workforce needs for major energy projects. Executive Director, Rosella Melanson tells CHSJ news there will be massive construction projects in Saint John that will require thousands of skilled labourers.

According to the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council women account for nearly half of employment in the Atlantic region--but--men still dominate the manufacturing sector. Melanson says the province should be doing more to prepare those workplaces for women--and--encourage women to consider skilled labour.

Small Business Optimism Up



Small and medium-sized business optimism remains well above the national average in this province, according to the latest survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Provincial spokesperson, Andreea Bourgeois tells CHSJ news New Brunswick is the second most optimistic in the country despite the economic uncertainty--but--businesses are still leery about the future.

Bourgeois says this province's advantage is greater market stability--with fewer extreme highs and lows.

Atlantica Center For Energy Head Sees Growing Potential



Tim Currie of the Atlantica Center for Energy says the potential for private investment in the corridor and related energy projects speaks volumes.
Currie says the projected demand for energy even with the current economic state will continue to out pace the supply -- so -- there should be no end to potential markets for the Irving projects and additional reactors at Point Lepreau.

Irving Oil Proposes Wind - Natural Gas Power Plant



Irving Oil is exploring the possibility of building a wind and natural gas co-generation power plant.
The plant would be capable of generating between 12 and 15-hundred megawatts of power -- and -- Irving's Jeff Matthews says it would be built in phases.
The plant's capacity is more than double that of the Point Lepreau nuclear generating station -- the company is currently doing technical and commercial feasibility studies.
Matthews says the natural gas fired power plant would be located as close as possible to the Canaport L-N-G terminal.

Green Energy Corridor Being Promoted On Both Sides Of Border



It's being heralded as the next major step in the growth of our area as an energy hub -- our province is working with neighboring Maine to develop an energy corridor which will also promote more so called green energy projects.
The announcement was made with much fanfare this morning at the Delta -- Premier Graham says it will cover all forms of energy.
Maine Governor John Baldacci says it's the most environmentally friendly way of moving energy to markets by keeping transmission lines in the same footprint.

RCMP Warn of Deer on Highway 1



The warmer weather is drawing out an abundance of deer near roads and highways. Charlotte County RCMP are warning drivers to slow down and be watchful particularly along Highway 1 from St. Stephen to Saint John. A collision with a deer can cause serious damage and injury.

The Department of Transportation had posted numerous deer warning signs along Highway 1 but Mounties say several have gone missing mainly in the Pocologan area.

Accident Involving School Bus



No serious injuries after an accident between a school bus and vehicle in Sussex Corner this morning. RCMP tell us they were called to the Post Road just after eight o'clock to find the bus had hit the vehicle trying to back out of a driveway when the driver was blinded by the sun.

The bus tried to swerve but failed. The driver of the vehicle was taken to hospital to be looked over.

Conservative leader in the Valley Tonight



A speech tonight by Provincial Conservative Leader David Alward will focus on last weeks budget. The Conservatives contest the governing Liberals have a spending problem which has put this province millions of dollars in debt. Leader David Alward tells CHSJ News, his party continues to gear up for when the writ is dropped in about a year and a half.

Tonight's dinner at Riverside Country Club gets started at seven o'clock.  

Jobs Lost at MooseHead Breweries



Moosehead Breweries has let go of 13 of it's employee's due to economic troubles. Five of the affected worker were here at the West-Side plant with the other scattered between Nova Scotia, Ontario and the United States. Mike Lee is with Human Resources and tells CHSJ News, this move was made to position the company so it can weather this economic storm. Another five positions that will be vacant in the coming months due to retirement, resignations and transfers will not be filled. 

Lee says all of the employee's that have been let go will receive a severance package and this was not an easy decision for the company.


Energy News Conference at the Delta



Energy will be the focus of a news conference later this morning at the Delta. Taking part will be Premier Shawn Graham, Energy Minister Jack Keir and Main Governor John Baldacci.

Also taking part will be Jeff Matthews of Irving Oil. Things get started at Nine O'clock. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Harrison Says Ferry Solution May Be Found In Westfield



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(Hampton Kings M-L-A Bev Harrison - photo courtesy CNB)

Hampton Kings Conservative M-L-A Bev Harrison says Belleisle residents may have bought some valuable time to prepare a better case for alternatives to axing the ferry service. 
Harrison says one of the alternatives could center around moving a ferry from Westfield when a new unit arrives there -- he says the existing ferries appear to meet new federal standards.
And he  says the number of people upset by the decision to can the river ferry is growing -- he says there are now over four thousand facebook members while emails and calls continue to come in.

Health Critic Calls for Elimination of Ambulance Fees



Conservative Health critic Margaret Ann Blaney is calling out the Health Minister on placing the 130 dollar fee back on ambulance service. Mike Murphy say the number of people using ambulances rose dramatically when the fees were eliminated--and--attributes that to people abusing the service. Blaney tells CHSJ News the minister has no data on how many calls were for actually taxi service.

Blaney says the fees should be removed so that seniors and those on low incomes won't suffer--and--government should be focusing on weeding out those who are really abusing ambulance service.


Residents Cautiously Optimistic Over Ferry Service



A rally planned for tomorrow in support of the Belleisle Ferry will go ahead as scheduled.  One of the Organizers, Janice Bates, tells CHSJ News she is happy to hear the Transportation Minister will consider their recommendations for the ferry service--but--is not going to quit the fight just yet. Bates says the minister could still turn around and say he just doesn't have the money to keep the ferries.

 The rally is planned for 4:30 tomorrow afternoon on the Hampton Side of the Belleisle Bay Ferry Landing.

Some Wiggle Room In Ferry Struggle



They may have some breathing room! - that's the thrust of a meeting between Belleisle residents and Transportation Minister Denis Landry at the Legislature this afternoon.
Spokesperson Linda Watson tells CHSJ News the minister has given them the option of formally requesting an extension of next week's deadline to tie up the ferry - and - they will be sending an email right away.
Meanwhile -- Landry tells us he's not cutting the ferry service because he wants to -- he doesn't have the money in his budget to keep the service operating -- but -- he will give careful consideration to the request.
Landry says he would then consider proposals like having the community operate the ferry or turning it over to a private operator.
The Belleisle - Gagetown - and - Hampstead ferries are scheduled to be axed at the end of the month as part of the government's cost cutting measures.

City Water May Still Have Lead



Saint John's drinking water is meeting the Guidelines for lead content under the Canadian Drinking Water Quality standards--but--some residents may still be drinking elevated levels of lead.  Recent testing has confirmed levels of lead are well below the national limit when pipes have been flushed-- however-- traces of lead have been attributed to water sitting in fire hydrants or residential pipes.

Brent McGovern with Saint John Water says the problem is old lead pipes or pipes that have been soldered with lead. He says anyone with concerns about internal plumbing should run their water for about five minutes in the morning before drinking it. The running water will flush out any stagnant water containing leached lead.  He says the only way to completely remove the problem is by replacing lead pipes, brass plumbing or fittings and leaded soldering pastes.

Province Prepares for International Student Assessment



The province is participating in an international student assessment to determine how our achievements in reading, math and science compare to the rest of Canada--and about 30 other countries.  School District 6 spokesperson, Gary Hall says a random sample of 15 year old students will be selected over the next few weeks for the Program of International Student Achievement. The assessment is administered every three years and several New Brunswick teens will take part this April and May.

Hall says one teacher from each high school will be responsible to help students and teachers prepare for the PISA test.

RCMP Warn of Dangerous Driving Conditions



RCMP are warning drivers to slow down because of slippery roads and white out conditions throughout the greater Saint John area. There have been several accidents in the Barnesville and Loch Lomond areas, as well as a couple of highway crashes.

Emergency crews are on the scene of a head on collision on Route 820 by First Loch Lomand Lake--past the Saint John airport. Few other details are immediately available. Also, a woman in her 40's was taken to hospital after the truck she was driving rolled over on Highway One before 1pm. Emergency crews closed off the East Bound lane of the highway in that area for a time while they removed the truck from the road. No word on the extent of the woman's injuries.


Dogs Numbers Slip A Bit



The final attendance report for the 2008-2009 Q-League season is in and not much change for the Saint John Seadogs.
According to the league web-site, the team is down close to 50 fans per game averaging 3930.
President Wayne Long says they are comfortable but not satisfied with their numbers.
Halifax has almost 6700 fans per game, in Moncton they are averaging just over 4300 per game, Cape Breton is just shy of 3400, the Rocket are bringing in just over two thousand and Bathurst brings up the league rear averaging just over 1700 fans per game.

Council Hands Over More Cash To Symphony N-B



Symphony New Brunswick is first out the gate and has come away a winner after making a request to common council for more funding.
The organization is requesting their annual grant be doubled from five thousand to ten thousand dollars.
Council narrowly approved the vote 5 to 4 -- and -- councilor Gary Sullivan says this sets a dangerous precedent and is worried everyone who received a grant in the 2009 budget will now come back looking for more.
The five grand will come out of the city's unspecified grant budget.

Rockwood Golf Course Freezes Green Fees



The Rockwood Park Golf Course is placing a freeze on its green fees for this year--with the exception of a three dollar hike for seniors. President of Total Golf Management Gerry Connolly says the price freeze is in response to the current economic situation. As for the raise in seniors fees, he says it will allow for fewer restrictions on when seniors can play at the discounted rate of $25. Now they can play during prime time hours earlier in the day. The regular adult green fee ranges from $25 to $37.

The golf course has 300 thousand dollars in specialized golf maintenance equipment this year with a 16 thousand dollar state of the art aerator to maintain tees and greens, along with 35 new power carts.

Rally Planned to Save Ferry



A group of residents fighting the loss of ferry service in Belleisle are planning a rally tomorrow on the Hampton Side of the Belleisle Bay Ferry Landing. 

The Belleisle Ferry is the longest Cable Ferry in Eastern Canada and residents that it attracts tourists and visitors to the area. The rally is to be held at 4:30pm.

White Out Conditions Cause Highway Crash



Police are blaming high winds and whiteout conditions for a crash on Highway One near the Spruce Lake exit around 12:30pm. A woman in her 40's was taken to hospital after the truck she was driving flipped over. Emergency crews are closing off the East Bound lanes of the highway in that area until they can remove her truck from the road. No word on the extent of the woman's injuries.

Keir Drops Hint Of Significant Energy Announcement



news-jack keir.jpg

(Energy Minister Jack Keir - photo courtesy CNB)

There's another major energy related announcement coming for the city tomorrow -- Energy Minister Jack Keir let the cat out of the bag during a speech to a Board of Trade breakfast this morning.
But Keir is refusing to give any more details despite being pressed by reporters - saying he doesn't want to steal the Premier's thunder.
The premier's office confirms to CHSJ News there is an announcement tomorrow but so far isn't offering any details on location or time.

You can listen to the reporters scrum with Keir - click on Wild Audio.

Uptown Fire This Morning



Nobody hurt after fire broke out at an uptown business early this morning. City Crews were called to Mahogany Manor on German Street just after four o'clock to find the building full of smoke. Crews made their way inside and quickly extinguished what was smoldering.

No word yet on how the fire started.

City Solicitor will Play Lead in Pension Inquiry



Council has decided to keep the city solicitor through the process of amending the pension plan--despite his advice to seek outside legal help. John Nugent says the proposed changes to save the city money may put him in conflict of interest. Councilor Bill Farren says it would be a waste of tax payers money to hire outside legal advice when they already pay Nugent's salary.

Council will hire consultant Morneau Sobeco for 50 thousand dollars to review how the possible pension plan changes will affect liabilities, costs and plan members.

More Discussion at City Hall About Pension Plan



Council is still considering a public inquiry into the city's troubled pension plan. This despite an odd recommendation from the Nominating Committee to forget setting up a committee to consider the feasibility of an inquiry and just vote on whether they want to hold one. Councilor Gary Sullivan says this is another example of a council motion not being followed through.

Council has referred the issue back to Nominating Committee to have them nominate a group to examine the feasibility of a public inquiry into the troubled pension plan.

More Snow Arrives in Greater Saint John



No major damage in the metro from the latest calling of winter. Most area's are waking up to five centimeters with another two or four that could fall through-out the morning. The hardest hit area's of the province are Moncton and Fundy National Park which have ten centimeters on the ground. Meteorologist Guy RuSelle with Environment Canada tells CHSJ News, most of mainland Nova Scotia is waking up to 20cm's on the ground.

Roads around the metro are slick and the bad news is, most of the pot-holes are now covered up with snow so ease that foot off the gas.


Belleisle Residents Get Meeting With Transportation Minister




(Belleisle Bay ferry service to end Friday - photo courtesy DOT)

Belleisle area residents are getting their chance to make their plea to Transportation Minister Denis Landry in a bid to save their ferry service.
Spokesperson Linda Watson says Landry has agreed to join Tourism Minister Stuart Jamieson when he meets with them this afternoon in Fredericton.
Watson says they will ask Landry to delay cancellation of the service until an economic impact assessment is completed along with making some other suggestions.
The Graham government announced in last week's budget -- the Belleisle - Gagetown - and - Hampstead ferries will be tied up permanently Friday as a cost cutting measure.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Local M-L-A Searching for "N-B Made Solution"



No matter what, when it comes to poverty it must be a made in New Brunswick solution--- that from Saint John Portland Conservative M-L-A Trevor Holder who tells CHSJ News the province wide dialogue sessions are a step in the right direction---

Holder cites the Crescent Valley area as a recent example of success in poverty reduction--- the neighbourhood boasts a resource center and a community police officer.

Poverty Reduction Initiative



There is still a long road ahead but things are coming together in building a poverty reduction plan for the province--- About fifty Saint Johner's turning out to the second public dialogue session held in the city last night, co chair of the project Gerry Pond tells CHSJ News he is still in a listening mode but there are some issues which keep coming up:

This marks the fourteenth meeting, with one left to go in Fredericton-- the three phase initiative will next hold round table discussions with experts on issues of poverty, they will discuss proposals put forth in the public sessions. Finally, a forum will be held to establish the Poverty Reduction Plan. If you missed your chance to attend a dialogue session you can still participate, to get involved with the initiative visit

Update on Leak at Irving Oil Refinery



Irving Oil crews continue to work to drain the storage tanks at the refinery after a leak was found last week.
Spokesperson Jennifer Parker tells CHSJ News, the crews expect to have the tanks completely drained in a day or so.
She says luckily the wind is blowing in a direction that diverts the smell of gasoline away from houses in the Champlain Heights area.
A foam is also being used during the process to keep the odour down.
Still no word on the cause of the leak.

Eight Year Old Murder Investigation Concludes



The RCMP is ending the investigation of an eight year old murder, after finding out the person responsible for the death is also dead.
The body of Robert Joseph Lobb was discovered in his home in Val D'Amour in November of 2000.
Evidence gathered over the years has identified the man responsible for shooting Lobb died in 2005.
No charges can be laid, and it is believed Lobb's death is related to a drug deal.

Visitors Welcome Again


The Loch Lomond Villa is once again open to visitors after lifting the ban due to several cases of influenza.
Director of Care Terry Lee Martin says visitors are permitted, but if they are feeling unwell they should wait until they are better before stopping in.
The ban has been in place since March 13th.

Work Continues on New Office Space



The former East Saint John School continues to undergo a transformation. The building is being converted into new office space for Irving Oil. Spokes-person Jennifer Parker tells CHSJ News, due to the cold weather, work was halted for a few weeks but has resumed. The space is still needed regardless of whether or not the company is granted approval to build a new office tower on Long Wharf.

Parker says if everything stays on schedule, the building should be open by the end of the summer.

Quality of Life Hosts Another Meeting



The Quality of Life Initiative will hold the latest in it's series of public meetings tonight. They continue to protest the proposal by Corridor Resources who want to drill into salt beds, flush them out and make caverns to store natural gas to pipe in through the Penobsquis field and onto the United States. Spokes-person Otty Forgrave tells CHSJ News, there is a possibility other products could be piped in to the same holding area.

Tonight's public meeting gets started at 7:30pm at the Upham Rec Center on the Titusville Road.  


West Side Looking for a Business Plan



A city councilor is asking city staff to prepare and advertise a business improvement levy for the west side. Bill Farren tells CHSJ News, the recommendation to complete the levy was made last year and the West Side Business Association has asked him to intervene in finding out it's progress. Farren says he wants city staff create and advertise for a public hearing to create a business improvement area on the west side over the next 5 days.

Farren says he hopes progress is made soon.

Is There a Business Case for a Second Refinery



Business partners Irving Oil and British Petroleum are still deciding whether to go ahead with the construction of a second oil refinery in Saint John. Gordon Dalzell with the Clean Air Coalition tells CHSJ news if environmental concerns won't deter them, maybe the economy will in North-Eastern United States where the oil would be shipped.

Dalzell says the existing refinery emits about 35 pollutants into the city's air--and-- a second refinery would further impact the health of Saint Johner's for generations to come.

Meth Use on the Rise up North



The latest stats from the RCMP say drug seizures involving methamphetamine are on the rise. Officers say of particular concern is that in a number of cases, what people are buying as “Ecstasy” is in fact primarily methamphetamine. As a result, some people have unknowingly become addicted and have had to seek treatment.

Even though police are seeing more cases involving meth, abuse of the drug is not prevalent in most of the province, with the exception of communities in the Edmunston area. Reports from the Northwest of the province indicate an increase in methamphetamine addiction in the area.

Ferry Workers Offered Other Jobs



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(Gagetown ferry is one of three being cut as of Friday - photo courtesy DOT)

There's a bright spot coming out of the provincial government's decision to axe the Belleisle - Gagetown - and - Hampstead ferry services.
Transportation Department spokesman Andrew Holland confirms to CHSJ News 11 of the 15 ferry workers have been offered jobs on other river ferries.
And Holland says the Human Resources branch is working with the other 4 to secure employment for them.
The three ferries will stop plying the waters as of Friday as part of the Graham government's cost cutting measures.

Poverty Reduction Forum Tonight in Saint John



You can have your say, again, on poverty in the province. The New Brunswick Poverty Reduction Initiative is returning to host an additional dialogue session tonight at the Somerset Community Center. The session will run between 6:30 until 9:30pm. The first session held in Saint John back in January saw over 100 participants.

To participate, you must register by calling 1-888-315-6606 and for more info or to participate online, you can go to

City Councilor Looking for Changes



Ever wonder when motions get followed through with after being passed at Common Council? Well so does Councillor Gary Sullivan. Sullivan tells CHSJ News, a better line of communications need to be made to find out the progress of motions passed in the chamber:

Sullivan says some motions should be passed very quickly, such as forming the committee concerning the public inquiry on the pension plan. Common Council is meeting tonight in their chamber at 7 o'clock.

Foul Stench Empties Building in East Saint John



A foul stench in an East Saint John apartment drove people from their homes yesterday. Fire crews and the Haz-mat Unit were called to 80 Coldbrook Cresent just before noon to find elevated levels of hydrogen-sulphite.

Crews discovered the smell was coming from the septic system where one of the traps was not working causing the odor to linger in the building. A plumber was called in to fix the problem and everyone was allowed back into the building a few hours later.

More Snow is on the Way



They say if March comes in like a lion.....she will roll out like a lamb but today's weather forecast could throw a wrench into that plan. Environment Canada is tracking a system that will kiss most of the province and leave us with close to 10cm's by tomorrow morning. Snow is expected to start falling late this afternoon and into this evening.

Nova Scotia will get the brunt of the action with most of that province expected to wake up tomorrow with anywhere between 15-25m's of snow. The full three-day forecast is coming right up. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

City Shines In Readers Survey



Saint John businesses and attractions are holding their own against others in Atlantic Canada in a recent poll by Progress magazine.
The business publication's survey of readers ranks Java Moose as the best in the east for your early morning caffeine fix beating out coffee shops in Halifax and Charlottetown.
Best cultural space goes to the Imperial Theater which beat out the Confederation Center of the Arts in Charlottetown and Neptune Theater in Halifax.
Handworks Gallery comes in as the best place in Atlantic Canada to buy staff thank you gifts.
And the best place to jog honors go to Harbor Passage which topped Point Pleasant Park in Halifax and Victoria Park in Charlottetown.