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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

No Tax Increases In Upcoming Provincial Budget But There Are Job Cuts In Health

One thing is for sure, you won't have to worry about taxes going up in the near future. Finance Minister Blaine Higgs saying taxes aren't going up in the next budget, scheduled to come out next month. 

Kevin Lacey of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation saying while this is good news for the province,we still need to pay attention to government spending.

"There are positive signs for the future that things are going to get better, so we want to see the Finance Minister address the government's spending problem, and not just hope that a lot of the longer-term projects are going to come on and save the day for the province," he says.  

 At the same time, he says the Minister's decision is really the only option right now, and 
new projects such as the pipeline, can help drive up provincial revenue.

 He tells CHSJ News, "when you consider that someone earning sixty-thousand dollars in Saint John would pay about seventeen-hundred dollars more in taxes than someone earning the same income in Edmonton, New Brunswickers can not take anymore tax increases."

Still with the province's bottom line......Horizon Health estimates it will save half a million dollars with 8 job cuts and not filling 4 vacant positions in radiology and nuclear medicine in Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton.

Rothesay Councillor Says Many Want Curbside Recycling

Residents in Rothesay would prefer to have recycling at the end of their driveway. That coming from Rothesay Councillor Matt Alexander, who says this is what the town has been hearing from residents for a number of years. 

Alexander is Chair of the Waste Diversion Committee for the Crane Mountain Landfill. Fundy Region Solid Waste will be holding public consultation sessions to get the greater community's feedback on recycling. 

CHSJ News asked Alexander if the town would move ahead with it's own curbside recycling program, even if the regional service committee sticks with the status quo.

"We may choose to do that based on what we've had as feedback from our residents. They would really like to see that, and if these public consultation sessions really demonstrate that that's what people in our community would to see, than we would strongly look at going to curbside recycling," he says.

Alexander says more people are becoming environmentally conscious, and are seeing the value of recycling. Adding, enough waste has been diverted from the landfill, giving it a longer life than originally expected.

The City Prepares For Snow Conditions

 The City of Saint John has some reminders as we prepare for the storm conditions.
The city advising everyone to avoid traveling during the storm, be mindful of winter parking restrictions and call ahead to city arenas or community centres, in case of closures or shorter hours.

To check the hours of the City Market you can call 658-2820. On-street parking is not allowed in most of the city up until March 31st from midnight to 7pm. 

Snow removal crews will be out tonight, making sure roads and highways are safe. In a news release the city says "major arteries, highway connections and emergency routes will be cleared constantly during the storm, with major bus routes, and streets connecting schools, community centres and business districts as the second priority."
 In case we lose power again, the City's Emergency Management says make sure you stock up on water, batteries and food.

 For more information on how to prepare visit

Minister To Meet To Discuss Future Of Lobster Industry

Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Fisheries ministers from the Maritime Provinces will be meeting from March 26 - 27 in Halifax to talk about why the price of lobster has plummeted so drastically, and what can be done to strengthen the industry.

The summit will focus on the Maritime Lobster Panel report, given to the three ministers last November. It addresses why the price of lobster dropped in the spring of 2013 and looks at the various cost and revenue aspects of harvesters, buyers and processors.

The report also looks at ways to stabilize and potentially increase prices paid to harvesters, and a possible formal system where the industry would know the price that will be paid in advance.

Anxiety Levels Among Students At UNB Rising

As the strike by university professors at U-N-B in Saint John, Fredericton and Bathurst continues, the Provincial NDP is calling for students to be legislatively protected both academically and financially from losing out. 

Pat Joyce is Executive-Director of the New Brunswick Student Alliance and tells CHSJ News, financially that would mean rebates on their tuition.

As for what could be done for them if their semester is lost, Joyce says that would be unprecedented but a semester could very go down the drain, he has heard, if a strike lasted more than 4 weeks. He would hope the provincial government would step in and help the students out if that happened.

Field House At Exhibition Park Would Let Kids Play Indoor Sports

Kids in East Saint John and beyond could be playing indoor soccer, badminton and other sports at a new field house at Exhibition Park is the Saint John Exhibition Association has its way.

Common Councillor Gerry Lowe tells CHSJ News they've made the project less expensive since they originally pitched it, and now they're looking to see if there's a business case. While at this stage of the game they're not asking for any funds from the city, to actually build the field house would require funding from all three levels of government.

Lowe says the Exhibition Association has always thought it's something the community needs--and it would fit into the current council's priority of recreation.

Several Arrests For Assaults, B&E

Saint John police made a number of arrests over the past 24 hours, according to tSJPD media spokesperson Sergeant Jay Henderson.

 A 39 year old man was arrested after a domestic assault on Princess Street--and was also be found to be breaching conditions imposed for an earlier offense. He has a court appearance scheduled for today.

There was another arrest of a 39 year on woman on Adelaide Street in the North End for allegedly assaulting three people.

As well, the suspect in a break-in on Waterloo St in which computer equipment and a safe were stolen was nabbed while walking on Richmond Street in the early evening hours yesterday. He was also found to have illegal pills in his possession,and has a court appearance scheduled for today.

Another Storm Closes Schools

Another major storm is about to hammer the Saint John area with lots of snow and gusty winds. Mel Lemmon of Environment Canada tells CHSJ News there will be light snow this morning with the heaviest snow falling this afternoon.

Environment Canada is forecasting from 15 to 20 centimeters of snow depending on where you are in the region with winds gusting up to 60 kilometers an hour this afternoon. Lemmon expects the storm to taper off tonight with winds becoming light after midnight.

Schools in the Anglophone South School District from Sussex to St. Stephen will be closed today because of the pending storm.

Current Recycling & Composting Program Working Well In Quispam

The best option for Quispamsis when it comes to the future of composting and recycling is sticking with the status quo.

That's according to Mayor Murray Driscoll who tells CHSJ News that doesn't mean he's not open to the other options Fundy Region Solid Waste are currently exploring. Along with the status quo, the other options being look at are both curbside recycling and curbside composting which would cost 2.5-million dollars, and curbside recycling which would replace composting. 

Driscoll says if they do decide to keep things the way they are, he would like to see more blue bins in the town. He says they are being filled up faster than they can empty them. The Regional Services Commission will be making the final decision in June. Driscoll is the vice-chair of that committee.

Plane Crash In Fredericton Area With Pilot Rescued

An investigation will be launched to determine why a small plane with a trainee pilot crashed last night near Highway 10 and Grub Road, between Fredericton and Minto. 

The Fredericton Fire Department says phone contact was made with the pilot who was found near by after an extensive search in dense brush and then was airlifted to hospital for medical treatment. He's listed in critical condition.

The pilot is in his 20's but his name has not been released. He managed to crawl out of the wreckage and called for help on his cellphone.

Meantime, on the east side, there was a two vehicle collision yesterday afternoon at 340 Loch Lomand Road. One person was taken to hospital.