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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Port Prez Says Potash Is In An Adjustment Period

Things may be looking bleak on local potash front, but the President of the Port believes it will get better. 

Jim Quinn says we're currently experiencing a period of adjustment but thinks demand will steady in the future. Quinn tells CHSJ News we have a growing global population meaning food demand will continue to rise and potash will become an increasingly important commodity. He says it's the world markets who will dictate how active the Canadian potash mines will be.

Quinn says the port will soon be experiencing a slight decrease in the volume of the potash they move and they will be working closely with PotashCorp, who has just announced more than a hundred job cuts locally, to find out how they can help get their product to the marketplace. He calls the company one of their valuable customers.

Funeral For Teens Who Died In Crash

Four teenagers who died early Saturday morning in a car crash in will be honoured at a funeral service this afternoon in Cap-Pelé. Premier David Alward also offered his condolences in the legislature.

18 year old Justin Léger, Sebastien Léger, and Justin Brown, and 17 year old Luc Arsenault all died when their car struck a culvert and went off the road in Notre-Dame The funeral service started at 3 p.m in Cap Pelé.

Higgs & Melanson Duke It Out Over Shared Risk Plan

Pension reform talks got heated in the legislature today, with Liberal Dieppe Centre-Lewisville MLA Roger Melanson accusing Finance Minister Blaine Higgs of evading questions on the actuarial model the government used to back up its statements on the Shared Risk Model.

Meanwhile Higgs says the research is well-documented and his job is to search for solutions to a problem pension plans across Canada are currently facing.

CUPE has written an open letter expressing concern the SRP actually transfers all the risk to the members.

Layoffs May Be Less Due To Voluntary Severance

The GM for PotashCorp in New Brunswick says challenging market conditions for potash, phosphate and nitrogen are reason as many as 130 layoffs are necessary.

Stewart Brown tells CHSJ News the workforce of their operation in Penobsquis could go from 530 down to 400.

Brown says in order to mitigate some of the layoffs they are offering a voluntary severance program.

He says they can take advantage of that in Januauary and that hopefully can lessen the number of layoffs required.

Brown says by February they will know which workers are impacted and the changes will kick in at the end of March next year.

He says its a hard time for their employees adding as a business they have to make sure their investment in New Brunswick is here for the long term.

CUPE Warns Less Gear Will Be Clearing The Snow This Winter

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is speaking out on what it sees as the effect of 9 million dollars in cuts to the highway winter maintenance program. 

The President of local 1190 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees is warning there will be 55 fewer pieces of equipment to get rid of the snow with 70 fewer operators. 

Andy Hardy also charges for the second year in a row, sand and salt budgets have been reduced while the province is giving more than 6 million dollars to a consulting firm from Quebec.

11th Bare Necessities Campaign Wraps Up Soon

The Bare Necessities campaign is underway for it's 11th year providing various charities with personal care items.

The Saint John Board of Trade's Women in Business Forum made up of 20 business leaders distributes the items collected in time for the holidays.

The campaign's simple focus is in its name...ensuring that over the holiday season the city's most vulnerable citizens have the basics.

Sharon Amirault of the First Steps Housing Project says the Bare Necessities Campaign gives them a much needed boost to ensure everyone has the basics.

The BOT's Women in business forum partners with CIBC on the annual campaign.

There is still time to donate shampoo, conditioner, toothbruthes, toothpaste, lotions, razors, shaving cream, deodorant and combs by Thursday to the CIBC branch on King Street.

Holder Can See Benefits From Public Art

To say the Tourism Minister is a bit excited about the 2014 edition of Sculpture SJ in an understatement.

Trevor Holder tells CHSJ News for some of the smaller communities in our region it will be the first piece of public art they have ever received.

He says in many cases this piece of public art on a main street in a smaller community can create a streetscape effect that can go a long towards other development that happens around it.

After a year off, Sculpture SJ returns late next summer involving 8 communities including Blacks Harbour and Sussex.

Court Ruling Prompts Tire Burning

A judge in Fredericton granting SWN Resources  a two-week extension to its court injunction to keep protesters from interfering with testing for shale gas.

The company arguing the injunction, which includes a buffer zone around their equipment, had to be extended in order for it to finish up its work. 

Last night, part of Highway 11 was closed after protestors set fire to tires.

Potash Jobs Being Eliminated

According to a report out of Saskatchewan, Potash Corp will be slashing 130 jobs in New Brunswick. 

The Saskatoon-based company says the jobs are being cut because of soft demand for potash and phosphates, which are used to make fertilizer.

University Campus Reopened

The U-N-B Saint John campus at Tucker Park was shut down for much of yesterday and last night following the discovery of a suspicious package at the Athletics Centre. 

An evacuation was ordered until it could be determined if the package was dangerous. Divisional Chief Mark Wilson says a special unit of the RCMP was called in from Halifax and firefighters remained at the university for 9 hours. 

It turned out the package was not dangerous with shredded paper inside. City Police are now investigating.

Tin Can Beach Will Stay Open To The Public

It's a bit run down to say the least, but many South Enders enjoy visiting Tin Can Beach--and they'll be happy to hear they can continue doing that despite media reports to the contrary.

There had been confusion about the future of the beach as a public space with CN officials saying it would be fenced off at the rail line. CHSJ News has heard, however, that the city is now in talks with the landowners to ensure it remains accessible.

The ownership of the land is complicated--the beach itself belongs to Port Saint John, but other nearby land is the property of Potash Corp and CN Rail; however, the bottom line is the Mayor says the beleaguered beach will stay open.

There's also been talk of linking up the beach with the Harbour Passage--but there are no concrete plans at this point for how that could happen.

ZoneSJ To Address Years Of Unchecked Urban Sprawl

Years of unchecked urban sprawl have resulted in low population density for the city of Saint John--which means we can afford fewer quality services like transportation, recreation, and infrastructure. 

 Mayor Mel Norton tells CHSJ News under the new draft zoning bylaw ZoneSJ we'd be looking more to what successful cities are doing and applying it here at home. Portland, ME, for example has 11,000 people per square kilometer versus Saint John's
70,063 citizens over an area of 315.82 square kilometres in 2011.

Considering three-quarter's of the city's land mass is rural, the mayor says ZoneSJ is about improving quality of life for everyone in the city. Now that the public feedback sessions have taken place there will be further refinements made the the bylaw before it can officially be adopted in early summer 2014