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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Brunswick Can't Rely Soley on Government To Save Economy

A business audience in Saint John learning from one of its leaders on what is necessary to move the province forward.New Brunswick Business Council chair David Ganong sharing with the Board of Trade members the ideas that came from last fall's Future NB Summit.
In response to a CHSJ News question, Ganong tells us he got involved because he cares about this province. 

Ganong says major problems facing New Brunswick include the deficit and the economy but you cannot rely soley on the government to solve these issues.

Innovatia CEO Roxanne Fairweather tells CHSJ News she agrees there are challenges facing the province but she is still hopeful about the future.

The organizers of the Future NB Summit want to see a non-governmental organization operating a provincial business plan--a strategy that is working well in Oregon.

No Layoffs Coming To City Transit

There will be no layoffs even though City Transit is cutting back on various routes beginning in March to save money.

Transit Union President Tom McGraw tells CHSJ News four cuts were on deck but the union made the numbers work, primarily because two senior drivers decided to take early retirement.

However, McGraw warns the union will be facing cuts again at the end of the year as council has mandated only a 1 percent increase to city transit's budget.

Don't Look For Federal Money Coming To SJ Airport Anytime Soon

The Saint John Airport is not getting any federal money despite both the Fredericton and Moncton airports getting dollars from Ottawa for infrastructure improvements.

Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Keith Ashfield tells CHSJ News this isn't a slight to the Saint John Airport but the growing success of the port and the cruise industry made it a priority for funding.

Ashfield not giving out any timelines on possible future funding.

However, the Saint John Airport Authority did meet with common council Monday night in closed session.

2011 Heritage Award Winners Announced

Heritage is good business both for the property owners and the city. So Says Mayor Ivan Court as the city hands out its 2011 Heritage Awards.

Court says the property owners invested 25 dollars for every dollar in grant money handed out by the city. The 200 thousand dollars in grant money from the city generated more than 5 million dollars in heritage development as well as making the downtown a more attractive place for people to live.

The winners are John Irving of Commercial Properties for the Ordnance Building by the Barrack Green Armoury.......Coastal Realty owner Peter Asimakos for rehabilitating the building at 87 Canterbury........Barb Kliffer for the work she did to preserve a home at 80 Sydney Street........Bridget McGale for preserving the facade at 73 Duke Street........Brad Richard and Mike Verner for the Bourbon Quarter and Magnolia Cafe commercial signs.......Jonathon Northrup and Micheal Cummings are being recognised for restoring the facade at 176 King Street East .......The Saint John Theatre Company for rehabilitating its building on Princess Street and the New Brunswick Museum for raising heritage awareness.

Alward Ruling Out Having Nuclear Waste Dump In Province

Having New Brunswick become the home of a nuclear waste dump is not something he is pursuing. That word coming directly from Premier David Alward.
A federal document suggests Saskatchewan and New Brunswick appear to be the most receptive sites for such a facility.

Alward tells CHSJ News the previous government some work on the file but it's not something he's interested in.

He says public safety would be the number one issue and it's of greater importance than economic gain.

According to the federal document, there are some municipalities anxious to have the nuclear waste dump in their communities.

New Growth Strategy Coming For City

Common Council is being urged to set targets for future residential growth of 50 per cent in the urban core and 40 per cent in suburban areas. Craig Benning of Hemson Consulting says rural growth should be limited because of dollars and cents.......Providing city services to the more remote areas where fewer people live doesn't make good financial sense.

Benning does warn the financial benefits from this change won't start to be realised until after 2017 and will gradually increase to 2031.

Saint John's population by 2017 is projected to be 66 thousand. For the past couple of decades only 15 per cent of residential development has been taking place in the urban core.

New Contract Agreement For Saint John Longshoremen

International Longshoremen's Association Local 273 and the Port of Saint John Employers Association have agreed to a new 4 year contract agreement which will last until the end of 2014.

The agreement is said to provide cost savings for employers and a wage increase of 6.1 % for employees over the term of the agreement as well as an 8 % increase toward pension and welfare contributions.