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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Big Luxury Liner Making Its First Visit To The City

(Queen Victoria - photo courtesy Cunard Lines)

You may notice a huge addition to the waterfront Thursday morning -- the luxury liner Queen Victoria will be in port for its inaugural call to our city.
The big ship -- which is due to dock at 8 -- was christened in December of 2007 and carries two thousand passengers.
Its sister ship the Queen Mary 2 returns Tuesday and will make a third call on our port in early November wrapping up the cruise season.

Police Seek Robbery Suspect

City police are looking for the suspect in a robbery in the North End.
The robbery occurred just before 4pm this afternoon at the Bank of Nova Scotia on Main Street North.

A man in his 40's about 5 foot 8 inches tall with long grey hair wearing black pants and a purple shirt handed the teller a note demanding cash.
The suspect said he had a weapon but one was not displayed. No one was injured and the suspect left on foot with an undisclosed amount of money.

Boys and Girls Club Making Plans

Businesses are preparing for the worst case scenario as the brunt of the H1N1 pandemic could hit in the coming weeks. One of them is the Boys and Girls Club where close to 400 children make a stop everday. Director Debbie Cooper tells CHSJ News, the board of directors has adopted a policy through the Department of Health.

Cooper says staff have been briefed on what to keep an eye out for and try to enforce three easy rules....cough and sneeze into your sleeve, wash your hands and stay home if your sick.

One Home-Owner Not Happy With Construction Job

A recent construction job to Route 845 has one woman upset. It was back in August when the road was worked on she tells us it is causing headaches and a heavy burden on motorist's wallets. Leena Churley tells CHSJ News, the road was built up, shredded and pieces of it are puncturing tires and damaging windshields and this is not the first time they've had a problem with a road.

Churley says other motorist's take the Gondola Point ferry as an alternate route to avoid the road but she doesn't have that luxury. CHSJ News contacted the D.O.T and they tell us they are looking into the matter.

Health Authority Changes It's Name

A new name has been unveiled for all organizations which fall under the umbrella of Regional Health Authority "B". It will no be known as the Horizon Health Network." This is a merger of South-East Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton and the Miramichi where it's headquarters is. Health Network was selected as the descriptor because a network is an interconnected organization of people, groups and institutions with similar interests.

The word "Horizon" has the same meaning in both French and English and is approachable, inclusive and it is geography neutral.

How Much is the New Logo Going to Cost

$16,000 dollars is the price tag for this name change for the Health Authority. Spokes-person Erin Barnes tells CHSJ News, a consultant was hired to talk with everyone involved about the direction the new name should go in.

Signs around the region will not bear the new name until they need to be replaced and all signage will not be changed at once. All of the info has been changed on the authorities website and other changes will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

Cruise Ships in Port

(The Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Cruise Line from King Street--Photo By Diane Henry)

Both the Norwegian Dawn and the Caribbean Princess are in port today in Saint John.

Moose-Vehicle Collisions on the Decline

(File Photo)
The Welsford volunteer fire chief says there has been a noticeable drop in the number of moose-vehicle collisions since wild-life fencing was constructed along a section of Highway 7. Jim Lannigan tells CHSJ News he hasn't been keeping count, but doesn't remember any moose related crashes since the fencing was installed. He says there are, however, accidents still happening with wildlife where the fencing has not been installed.

53 kilometres of fencing and 5 highway underpasses were built in the summer of 2008 along Route 7. The latest stats for moose-vehicle collisions show 22 crashes in 2007, compared to 18 in 2008. There were also 15 people injured as a result of those collisions in 2007, compared to only 4 last year.

RCMP Cars Torched in Oromocto

(Photo Courtesy of the RCMP)

Two RCMP cars have been torched while mounties from Nova Scotia were in Oromocto on business yesterday. Oromocto RCMP say the vehicles were in the parking lot of the Days Inn Hotel when the local Fire Department responded to the call at one in the morning. Both cars were already engulfed in flames when they arrived and were a total loss.

The Fire Marshall has joined the RCMP in their investigation.

Securities Commission Investigates Illegal Distributions

Orders have been issued against four people by the New Brunswick Securities Commission. This is the result of an on-going investigation into alleged illegal distributions. The people in question are Pierre Emond, Armel Drapeau, Jules Bossé and Robert Saintonge and none are registered with the NBSC.

The motion alleges the respondents were involved in the promotion of securities of two companies around the Province. The current paperwork against the four prohibit them from selling or advising on any securities transactions until further order from the NBSC.

St. Stephen to Get New Government Garage

Great news for the Department of Transportation and the citizens of St Stephen. The new government garage will be setting up shop at the Industrial park off Progress Drive in Milltown. Local MLA Rick Doucet tells us this has been a long time in waiting:

Doucet says they should start construction late this fall and continue in early spring. The DOT will provide service as far as St George. In 2002 the old government garage was condemned.

No Help for Tropical Storm Victims

Bad news for those still dealing with damage caused by flooding during Post Tropical Storm Danny. The province has decided it does not meet the criteria of the Disaster Financial Assistance program. The tropical storm struck the province at the end of August leaving behind 109 millimetres of rain in Saint John alone.

Public Safety Minister John Foran says he realizes a number of residents in southern New Brunswick were affected by flooding but damages for the most part were in basements. Damage caused by sewer back-up are insurable losses and are not covered by provincial and federal assistance programs. Foran says anyone affected by flooding is advised to contact their insurance company.

Peel Plaza Update

(File Photo of Conceptual Design for Peel Plaza Development)

City staff will review proposals to contruct the Peel Plaza development in about 60 days with the help of a consultant. Acting City Manager Pat Woods says the three shortlisted companies will be submitting their proposals by November 27th.

Woods says the reviews will be looking at the financial, design, value engineering aspects and any value added proposals included in the three bids.

Reaction to Mental Health Task Force Report

The President of the Schizophrenia Society of New Brunswick, Gregory Zed, is pleased with the government's quick response to Mental Health Task Force Report. Zed tells us families feel disengaged.

Zed says the Society is hosting a session called "Your Recovery Journey" next month which fits in with the recovery-based model for mental health services.

Pandemic Flu Shots

The message remains the same from Provincial Health officials......get both the seasonal and H1N1 vaccine shots. This as plans to combat the virus continue to be rolled out. Dr. Scott Giffin is the District Medical Officer of Health and says no one will be forced to get either shot but there is more than just yourself to consider.
To this point, the only recent confirmed case of the H1N1 flu in the Province has been at RCS Netherwood School earlier this month. There were 149 individual cases when they were still keeping count earlier this year.

Energy Minister's Meeting with Prime Minister

No commitments from Ottawa coming out of a meeting this week between Prime Minister Harper, Premier Graham and Energy Minister Jack Keir. All three discussed the refit at Point Lepreau and Atomic Energy of Canada. AECL announced late last week the project is now 16 months behind schedule. Keir says phase one of the project, which falls under NB Power's umbrella, finished ahead of schedule:

Conservative Leader David Alward has criticized Keir for not keeping a close enough watch over this file. The Energy Minister says if Alward knows what the inside of a core reactor looks like then strap on a tool belt but the Provincial Government has fulfilled it's commitment.

Grand Lake Generating Station to Shut Down

NB Power's Grand Lake generating station is shutting down next June and as a result NB Coal in Minto, it's only customer, will close in December. Darryl Bishop of NB Power says the 58 employees at the mine will get severance packages.

38 workers at the generating facility will be offered positions within NB Power. Bishop says NB Coal would become too expensive to operate because of its age and the cost associated to make it compliant with new environmental regulations regarding mercury and sulfur dioxide levels.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Brunswick Pipeline Plans Maintainence Work tomorrow

Brunswick Pipepline will be conducting maintainence work on the Red Head Meter Station tomorrow.

An eight-hour shutdown is planned in conjuction with Canaport LNG.
The work involves replacing several peices which may result in residents detecting a rotten egg smell. To minimize to odour release, a flare stack will be used to burn off the gas which may be visible to nearby residents.
Engineers will conduct the work and the Saint John Fire Department will be notified.
Officials at Brunswick Pipeline say there is no need for staff or the public to be concerned.
The work gets started at 1pm tomorrow afternoon.
Residents with questions can contact Brunswick Pipeline at 1-888-410-2220.

Response to Mental Health Report

There are some changes coming to the delivery of mental health in this Province. The Department of Health is out with it's response to the Mental Health Task Force Report. They include an increase to operation funding provided to 26 community-based mental-health activity centres by close to $200,000 starting this fiscal year. The Department of Health has also taken steps to improve integration among key provincial departments including itself, Social Development, Public Safety, Education and Justice and Consumer Affairs.

Also, a new mental-health strategy will be developed and finalized in the spring. The task force began it's work back in May of 08 and released it's report back in February.

Key Industries Fund-Raiser

Key Industries is half way home to reaching it's fund-raising goal. The effort is to reach $1.2 million dollars to go towards expenditures at their new facility on Charlotte Street. Rod Belyea is chair of the board and tells CHSJ News, they are very confident they can reach it's goal.

The campaign has already received $600,000 dollars in pledges with $150,000 dollars from City Hall alone.

NB Coal Limited will close in December

NB Power has announced it will close the Grand Lake generating station next June and since it's only customer is closing its doors, NB Coal Limited will close this December.

NB Power President David Hay says the Grand Lake Generating Station is an aging facility with many environmental and economic challenges.  He says due to the nature of the coal mined in the area combined with pending environmental regulations make
it too expensive to continue operation.
Since 2000, the Grand Lake generating station has been it's only customer. Hay says NB Power will work with the community during this transition. The Grand Lake generating station was built in 1931 and was NB Power's first thermal plant. It was built to serve Fredericton and the cotton mill in Marysville.

MLA to Hold Meeting on Highway Brush Cutting

Oromocto-Gagetown MLA Jack Carr is hoping to get community support for Roadside Brush Cutting Services. He is holding a meeting tomorrow night in Fredericton Junction to organize volunteers who want to cut brush, seek provincial and federal grants, and help lobby the provincial government for more funding.

Carr says if residents want, he will help them set up a non-profit organization. Premier Graham cut one-third of the roadside brush cutting budget in last year's provincial budget. The Deparment of Transportation spends 600 thousand dollars yearly for the entire province.

Moose Lady Refuses to Work with Tory MLA

(File Photo--Kathy MacCullum receiving Merit Award from MLA Jack Keir for fighting to get moose fencing)

Kathy MacCullum with Mothers for Safer Highways has decided not to work with Tory MLA Jack Carr on reducing brush along provincial highways. MacCullum is well known for lobbying the provincial government to get moose fencing along Highway 7. She was unsuccessful with the Tory government and it was the Graham Liberals that agreed to install the wildlife fencing.

MacCullum says she supports any efforts to make highways safer, but will not work with the Conservatives on the initiative.

Quispamsis Blaze Sends Fire Fighter to Hospital

One KV fire fighter taken to hospital this morning for heat exhaustion after battling a blaze at 104 Hampton Road. Crews arrived around 5:30 this morning to find the living room of the home up in flames. Officials tell CHSJ news the fire was contained to the front room and attic area and was quickly extinguished. Two people and their pets were able to get out safely.

So far no word on the cause.

Cause of Apartment Fire Determined

Fire officials are blaming plastic dishes left in an oven for causing a fire at an apartment building on Brunwick Drive Sunday afternoon. The building was evacuated for about an hour and three people were left temporarily homeless after the oven caught fire and set off the sprinkler system. Water damage in the basement forced two women and one man out of their home.

Officials say the homeowner left plastic dishes in the oven and forgot to remove them before turning on the oven to heat it up.

City Comes up with Funding for Harbour Clean Up

The Muncipal Operations Commissioner is outlining the four components for coming up with the additional $19 million dollars needed for the Harbour Clean Up. Paul Groody says city staff has found a way to reduce the overall cost through value engineering exercises.

Groody says the money the province has already invested is accumulating interest, which will go towards the project. He says the city will invest $2.5 million dollars and will be asking the federal government to match the investment. The 2010 gas tax funding will also be used on Harbour Clean Up rather than on safe, clean drinking water because those projects are related to the recently approved six stimulus projects. Groody says the rest of the money will come from the utility's future capital funding.

City Councilor Wants Greater Accuracy on Project Costs

After learning the Harbour Clean Up project is going to be $19 million dollars over the original estimate, Councilor Carl Killen wants to know if there is a way to prevent cost over-runs in the future. Killen says it appears there are four levels of determining what something will cost---study, conceptual, preliminary and detailed design but wants to know if there is a way for a study level estimate to be closer to the actual cost.

Muncipal Operations Commissioner Paul Groody says the issue is that sometimes when an original estimate is determined it can take several years until the project actually gets underway causing costs to increase.

Apartment Complex Denied

Mel Clark's plan to have a 3 unit apartment building at 1161 Westfield is not going to happen. Common Council is acting on a recommendation by the Planning Advisory Committee to deny the request for special zoning at the location. Clark's request is to mix a light industrial zone with residential units.

Clark says it would be for single tradespeople looking for a cheap place to stay. Council determined the safety risks were too high to approve the request.

Tourism Excellence Award Finalists

Five contributors to the tourism industry in Greater Saint John are among the 13 provincial finalists for national awards in tourism excellence. Pacrim Hospitality Services Inc, which owns Hampton Inn Saint John, is up for the Business of the Year Award; the Saint John Port Authority is in the running for Corporate Partner of the Year; and general manager of the Fundy Trail Parkway, Brian Clark, is vying for Volunteer of the Year.

Also, Seascape Kayak Tours on Deer Island is in the running for Parks Canada Sustainable Tourism Award and My Trip Planner by T4G Ltd. and New Brunswick Tourism and Parks are up for the Online Innovation Award. The awards will be presented at a gala dinner in November during Canada's Tourism Leadership Summit being held in Saint John.

City Approves Waterfront District and Long Wharf Office Complex

(File Photo)

Common Council has passed an amendment to allow the development of Irving Oil's headquarters on Long Wharf as apart of a new waterfront district. The International Longshoreman's Association Business Agent Pat Riley says he takes issue with that because the size of the site hasn't even been determined yet.

Riley says the city shouldn't accept the size of the footprint of the proposed Long Wharf development because the value of the Lantic Sugar site hasn't been determined yet, and if the value of that site is diminished than Irving Oil's proposed headquarters site should also shrink. Council's approval will also allow mixed development in a designated waterfront district.

Long Wharf Proposal Gets Support

There is no shortage of support for the inclusion of the proposed Long Wharf development in the new Waterfront District. General Manager of Uptown Saint John Peter Asimakos says there is no uptown or downtown in the country that wouldn't want a development like Irving Oil's proposed headquarters.

CEO of Enterprise Saint John Steve Carson says this project will help bring newcomers to the city. Waterfront Development chair Charlie Swanton says development of Long Wharf will make Saint John a better place to work in, visit and live.

Provincial Deficit Released

The provincial government is reporting a 192 million dollar deficit, according to the latest audited financial statements ending in March. That's a far cry from the original 19 million dollar surplus the province had planned for. However, when the budget was tabled in March, officials forecast the 2008-2009 deficit to be 265 million dollars. The province says the debt is lower than predicted because of tight spending and the fact pension expenses were less than expected thanks to a slight upswing in the markets.
Finance Minister Greg Byrne says there are some tough decisions to be made as the province recovers from the global economic slowdown. Pre-budget consultations begin early in October for the 2010-11 budget. The province's total net debt is 7.4 billion dollars.

PM says Ottawa's Hands Tied Over Blood Distribution Centre Move

(PM Harper Speaking in Saint John)
       Photo by Jim Hennessy

Prime Minister Harper has touched on the economy and Point Lepreau during his visit to Saint John. But What about the future of the blood distribution center in Saint John. Canadian Blood Services has a proposal on the table to move it's facility from Saint John to Dartmouth. Harper says he doesn't see a lot of room for Ottawa to get involved.

Just last week, Premier Graham told CBS officials the Province is willing to pick up the cost of an expansion at the current facility in Millidgeville. CBS says they will meet with the Health Minister next month to discuss the proposal.

Update on Missing Man

RCMP have solved the case of a missing man. Last week, they were on the hunt for 48-year old Christopher Parlow who was reported missing on September 5 from Manitoba.

Parlow was found in Kingston, Ontario on Friday of last week. Officers thought he might be headed for Saint John.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Harper Adresses the Economy

Pleased with the progress it is making, the Harper Government plans to continue it's current course when it comes to stimulating the economy. Prime Minister Harper was in Saint John today to deliver the third report on his parties economic plan. Harper says 90 per cent of the plan to stimulate the economy for this fiscal year has been committed.

Harper says we are not out of the woods yet and it's vital to keep his parties economic action plan moving ahead. Harper adds trying to force an election during these economic times is both reckeless and irresponsible. The Liberals plan to introduce a non-confidence vote later this week in the House of Commons.

Harper on Point Lepreau

Prime Minister Harper has adressed the growing problem that is the refit at Point Lepreau. Now that we know it is 18 months behind schedule, provincial politicians want to know if the hard thumb will be applied to Atomic Energy of Canada Limted by Ottawa. Harper says Ottawa, like this province, is also on the economic hook for every day the project is delayed.

Harper adds the contract in place imposes several obligations on the Federal Government and they will respect them.

Federation President Wants Reserve Camps Run by the Province

The President of the New Brunswick Wildlife Federation is speaking out in support of the 22 Crown Reserve Camps in the Province. The camps allow New Brunswick anglers the chance through a draw to fish on the Restigouche and Miramichi Rivers where a lot of the best spots are owned by the rich.

Roland Michaud tells CHSJ news the government is considering handing over responsiblity to a non-government agency. Michaud says the sportsmen of New Brunswick will not let the government pass off the responsibility of running the camps to another agency, they want the province to continue to maintain them.

Michaud adds they would also like government to make a committment in the future to fix up some of the camps and their access roads.

Update on Provincial Climate Change Plan Released

The provincial environment minister has released a progress report on the five-year climate change action plan released in 2007.

Rick Miles says 90 per of the actions highlighted in the plan have been started or completed.

The goal of the plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.5 megatonnes a year by 2012. Along with federal initiatitives, provincial emissions will be reduced to 1990 levels in the same year and below that by 2020.

The update cited the Mayors Eco-Challenge and the Climate Change Youth Engagement Network as some of the successful public initiatitives.

Local MLA Miffed with Prime Minister's Snub

Lancaster MLA Abel LeBlanc is miffed he was not invited to the Prime Minister's announcement this afternoon in his riding on the West Side. LeBlanc tells CHSJ news he was told he would be on the guest list, but when he showed up this morning to enter the NB Southern Railway Mechanical Shop on Gifford Street he was denied access.

LeBlanc says he wouldn't go to the announcement now even if he was formally invited.

Public Hearing Tonight for Long Wharf Proposal

Irving Oil's office complex proposal for Long Wharf will undergo public scrutiny at tonight's common council meeting. A public hearing will be held regarding staff recommendations that a waterfront district be established --and--that Irving Oil be allowed to place 3 acres of land within the new designation. The company wants to build a four-storey office complex and cruise ship terminal.
The Planning Advisory Committee has accepted staff's recommendation but is asking common council will give extra consideration to a couple of key unresolved issues: such as fishing boats that currently dock at Long Wharf and Harbour Clean up.

Tourism Minister Travels to Promote Travel

The provincial Tourism Minister is heading South of the border next week to promote the cruise ship industry and encourage travel journalism in our area. Stuart Jamieson tells CHSJ news he will meet with the Canadian Tourism Commission as well as host luncheons with a number of travel agents and travel journalists during a stopover in New York.

Jamieson will then travel to Miami for meetings with key cruise lines. There he will be joined by Betty MacMillan with the Saint John Port Authourity. In 2008 a record 184 thousand cruise ship passengers visited Saint John. The economic spinoffs for Greater Saint John are estimated at 20 million dollars.

City Council Considers Land Sales for Watershed Protection

The city's commissioner of planning is suggesting common council support the sale or exchange of watershed land that lies outside watershed limits. Ken Forrest tells CHSJ news council should adopt such a policy so the city can trade or buy more land within the watershed limits for long term protection.

Forrest says non-watershed portions of land currently owned by the city may front on a road and could be subdivided and developed. He also says there are some property owners who would exchange valuable land within the watershed for land outside the designation in order to avoid restrictions. Common council will consider the recommendation during tonights open meeting at city hall.

Wildlife Federation Opposes Changse to Crown Reserve Camps

The New Brunswick Wildlife Federation is urging the Department of Natural Resources not to abandon the operation and maintenance of Crown Reserve Camps as a core function. President, Roland Michaud has sent a letter to Minister Wally Stiles objecting to the idea-- calling it a poorly conceived initiative.
Michaud says the crown reserve system gives ordinary resident anglers first class angling opportunities in light of the fact government has leased the better water to clubs and those with higher means. The province is considering turning over the responsibility to a non-governmental agency. He says abandoning the long-standing service is simply unacceptable.

East Point Gets A New Bank

The East Point Shopping Complex off Westmorland Road continues to get crowded. The company has announced TD Canada Trust has begun construction on a new branch high atop the hill in East Saint John. It is on Retail Drive next to the Costco store, which is also under construction.

The full service bank is expected to be open by March of next year. The new Costco store is also scheduled to be open for business in the spring.

Local MLA Comments on Conservative Convention

David Alward will be the next Premier of the Province. That from Saint John Portland MLA Trevor Holder reflecting on the parties policy convention over the weekend. Holder tells CHSJ News, the Graham Government has taken the Province in a direction that most people are not comfortable with.

Holder says the timing of the convention couldn't have been better with a provincial election scheduled for next fall, the party can lock up it's platform and give voters time to look it over and make up their minds.

Prime Minister To Visit Saint John--Update

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will deliver his government's latest economic update during a stop in Saint John today. Harper is holding a photo opportunity before making his announcement at 12:30 at the NB Southern Railway Mechanical Shop on Gifford Street.
Transport Minister John Baird says the prime minister will lay out what the government has done to stimulate the economy. He says today's report will show great progress since the last update in June. Liberal finance critic John McCallum says it really doesn't matter what's in the economic statement. He says the Liberals have made their decision -- they're voting against the government.

Apartment Fire

Three people are temporarily homeless after a high rise apartment building went up in flames last night. The large building on Brunswick Drive caught fire around supper time, leading to an evacuation for about an hour.

The Canadian Red Cross has arranged emergency accommodations, meals, and clothing for the two women and one man who have been left without a home. No one was hurt and the cause is still under investigation.

City Hall Communication Problems

When it comes to communicating with the public, city hall needs find ways to improve. Councillor Bill Farren says he thought the issue would be fixed after the concerns heard during last year's Ward Meetings. Mayor Ivan Court tells CHSJ News, residents are even in the dark about city hall accomplishments.

Court says people are often unaware what their tax dollars are paying for, and a communications plan needs to be implemented at city hall to help ease the concerns of residents.

Harbour Clean Up Costs Rising

Updated cost estimates of the Harbour Clean Up project are projecting an additional $19 million dollars is needed. The acting city manager is submitting a report to Common Council concerning the additional costs, which explains the original $79 million dollar price tag was based on study estimates.

Common Council is being asked to endorse the report, and to send a letter to the federal government signed by the mayor requesting an additional $2.5 million dollars of funding. This topic will be up for discussion at tonight's council meeting getting started at twenty after six in the council chambers.

Provincial Opposition Leader Worried About Point Lepreau

Conservative Leader David Alward wasn't at a loss for words when asked about the latest numbers from the refit schedule at Point Lepreau. It's 18 months behind schedule and isn't expected to go back on line until February 2011. Alward tells CHSJ News, this is news that should concerns all tax-payers.

Alward says Energy Minister Jack Keir has a responsibility to manage his files and it's un-acceptable he tried to distance himself from it by saying he asked for answers and couldn't get any.

Local Doctor Considers Politics

A man who has held the lives of thousands of people literally in the palm of his hands is now considering a run at Provincial Politics. Dr. Jim Parrot showed up at the Conservative Policy Convention in Moncton over the weekend and tells CHSJ News, he has been retired for two years now and has been contemplating his future.

Parrot made an unsuccessful run for the Federal Conservative nomination a few years ago and says if he makes another attempt, there is a bigger job to be done around the Province.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Prime Minister Coming to Town

Prime Minister Harper will be in the city tomorrow to deliver his government's latest economic update. Harper's visit had been whispered since Friday -- but -- Transport and Infrastructure Minister John Baird confirmed the visit during an appearance on CTV's Question Period earlier this afternoon.

Harper will be at the NB Southern Railway Mechanical Shop on Gifford Street at 12:30 tomorrow.

Alward Not Holding Back

[Conservative Leader David Alward----File Photo]

We're still a year away from a provincial election but Conservative Leader David Alward is talking like a man the on the campaign trail. He adressed party faithful at it's policy convention in Moncton over the weekend and didn't hesitate to fire the first shot at Premier Graham.

Alward also took a shot at the main plank of the Graham platform....Self-Suffiency. He calls that nothing more than a marketing slogan although it is better than the new license plate wording of ""Be in This Place""

Federal Government Standing Behind Contract

[Saint John M-P Rodney Weston----File Photo]

With word that the refit at Point Lepreau is now 18 months behind schedule, the MP for Saint John is weighing in on the debate. Rodney Weston was a member of the former Lord Government which signed the deal with Atomic Energy of Canada to get this project rolling.
Weston tells CHSJ News, AECL and the Harper Government are standing behind this contract to make sure tax-payers are not on the hook to pay the difference in constructions costs.

The Search Continues for a City Manager

[Mayor Ivan Court----File Photo]

18 resumes are on the desk and 9 other people are looking for information. This as the search for a new City Manager continues at City Hall. Mayor Ivan Court tells CHSJ News, they hope to announce the person they have hired by Jan.1st.

Court adds of the 18 resumes received so far, several are from residents of Greater Saint John.

Premier Praises Canaport LNG Terminal

[Premier Shawn Graham----File Photo]
Premier Shawn Graham says the opening of the Canaport liquified natural gas terminal is something everyone should be proud about. He says not only has the project improved workers outlook of the province, but will benefit future projects.
Premier Graham adds the Canaport LNG terminal is a great and important addition to the provincial energy hub. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the site last week to officially open it after three and a half years of construction.

WorkSafeNB Conference Today

[WorkSafeNB Logo-----File Photo]
Worksafe NB is hosting the 29th Annual Health and Safety Conference which gets started today at the Delta. Host Nick Perry will speak about breaking his back in a forklift accident when he was only 19. Perry will also tour the Province sharing his story to remind about the importance of safety training.

There are also 22 workshops covering a variety of topics including ladder safety and training tips. The conference runs until Tuesday.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Water Still a Priority

Mayor Ivan Court says the city is doing tremendously well in trying to improve the water quality in the city.
Safe clean drinking water was outlined as the number one priority for common council last year, and Court tells CHSJ News, so far the city has invested 24 million dollars into water projects right now.
He says now it's time for the next step.
Court says looking back on the accomplishments over the past year the city has made major investments in another priority area.
The city has invested money into many recreational projects around the city including the Canada Games Stadium Upgrade, laying new gym flooring at the Carelton Community Centre, and upgrading Rainbow Park.

Rescue League Golfing

The Saint John Animal Rescue League's golf tournament and ball drop fundraiser takes place today the Rockwood Park Golf Course. The goal this year is 20 thousand dollars.
Executive Director, Janet Foster tells CHSJ news they currently have about 30 dogs and 150 cats at the shelter--and--all of the money raised is used for their care.
The shot-gun start for the tournament is at 11am and the helicopter ball drop will take place at 5pm for a five thousand dollar prize.

Fireworks Over The Harbour

A highlight of the fireworks display over the harbour front Friday evening as part of the celebrations marking the official opening of the Irving Repsol Canaport Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal in Red Head. CHSJ News video by Gary MacDonald.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Court says Progress Being Made on Water Priority

[Priority Meeting------photo by Dave Briggs]

Mayor Ivan Court says the city is doing tremendously well in trying to improve the water quality in the city.
Safe clean drinking water was outlined as the number one priority for common council last year, and Court tells CHSJ News, so far the city has invested 24 million dollars into water projects right now.
Court says the next step in regards to water in the city is getting the treatment plant up, and getting the infrastructure connected to it.
Court says looking back on the accomplishments over the past year the city has made major investments in another priority area.

The city has invested money into many recreational projects around the city including the Canada Games Stadium Upgrade, laying new gym flooring at the Carelton Community Centre, and upgrading Rainbow Park.

Volunteer Recruitment Drive Held Next Week

Volunteers are needed for 35 service agencies in Saint John.
To that end, The Saint John Volunteer Centre is hosting a recruitment drive.
Eileen McLaughlin of the Volunteer Centre says people are busier than ever and have less free time.
McLaughlin says there is a nearly 30 per cent decline in the number of volunteers across the country.
The Recruitment Drive runs October 1st and 2nd at Brunswick Square.

Changes for Blood and Specimen Collection

Regional Health Authority B is making some changes to their blood and specimen collection services.

Starting on Monday, all patients will need to make an appointment to access this service at the Regional Hospital, the West Side Wellness Centre, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and KV Health Services.

All appointments must be made ahead of time. To make an appointment, call 648-6681.

If you arrive at one of the collection sites without an appointment, you will get the next available appointment.

All appointments that have been scheduled before this Monday will not be affected by this change.

Federal Money for East Saint John Community Centre

Ottawa is giving 400,000 dollars to the Community Centre project of St. Joseph's Parish in East Saint John.

Saint John MP Rodney Weston announced the funding this morning through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

The Loch Lommond Community Centre will be a multi-use facility and is currently under construction.

Flag Bearer Announced for Team Canada

Two-time Olympian Joël Bourgeois has been named the province's official flag-bearer for the opening ceremonies of the 2009 Games of La Francophonie in Beirut, Lebanon. This will be his third participation in the Games of La Francophonie--and-- Bourgeois has also represented Canada at the Atlanta and Sydney Olympics.

The 2009 Games of La Francophonie will be held from this Sunday until October 6th.

Search Continues for Missing Girl

(Photo Courtesy of the RCMP)
An award for finding a missing girl from the Burnt Church First Nation has been increased to more than 17 thousand dollars. RCMP are still investigating the disappearance of 16-year old Hilary Bonnell. She was last seen on September 5th walking on Highway 11.
The award offered by the Chief and Council from the Burnt Church First Nation, along with donations, now stands at 15 thousand 600 dollars. New Brunswick Crime Stoppers is also offering up to two thousand dollars for information leading to Bonnell's whereabouts. She is described as being 5 feet 5 inches, aboriginal, with dark brown eyes and long black hair. A photo can be found on our website at news.

Soup Kitchen Raises Three Times its Goal

A fundraising campaign for Romero House has tripled it's goal of raising $30,000 for the soup kitchen, with the final tally being $92,000. Chair of the Finance Committee Paul Zed tells CHSJ news the people and corporations of Saint John have been extremely generous.

Zed says Saint Johners open their wallets for Romero House because of their tireless work providing 300 meals a day 365 days a year.

Saint John MP Says Answers in Contract for Lepreau Refit

After being called out by Energy Minister Jack Keir to start making some noise in Ottawa about the Point Lepreau refurbishment project, Saint John M-P Rodney Weston is responding.

Weston tells CHSJ News, the province said they are looking for answers, but all of the answers can be found in the contract between NB Power and Atomic Energy of Canada.

Weston says the federal government is committed to providing AECL with the tools to get the job done.

Surprise Announcement Expected Today

Saint John M-P Rodney Weston says the announcement at St. Joseph's Parish Church this morning is going to be something Saint Johners can get behind.

Weston tells CHSJ News, he doesn't want to spoil the surprise, but a capital campaign has been started in order to help them reach their projected goal.

Things get started at 9:30 at St. Joseph's Parish Church.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Official Opening of the Canaport LNG Terminal

The Canaport liquefied natural gas facility has officially opened it's doors.  CEO and Chairman of Repsol Antonio Brufau says the opening of this facility is a significant milestone for his company. Brufau says the Canaport LNG terminal is largest industrial investment ever made by a Spanish company to Canada.

The facility is the first LNG terminal in Canada, and is the only one built in the last 30 years on the North East.

Province Offers to Expand Blood Service Centre in Saint John

[Premier Graham During Media Scrum----Photo by Dave Briggs]

The provincial government is willing to front the bill to expand the Canadian Blood Services facility in Saint John.
Premier Shawn Graham says CBS indicated it needs a 50 thousand square foot facility in Halifax, compared to the 40 thousand square feet in the city.
Graham says Saint John is the perfect centralized location for a blood services centre.
Graham says the exact cost of the expansion is not known at the moment, but the offer is on the table.

The Ribbon Cutting For Saint John Transit's First Articulated Bus

The Saint John Transit Commission has unveiled it's first articulated bus. General Manager Frank McCarey says the accordion-style bus will be used to transport passengers from Hampton to Saint John, and the second one will service Quispamsis.

McCarey says he is expecting the accordian style bus will be on the road by mid-October, and the city transit will receive the second bus in about 10 days. He says during times when the bus isn't needed for the two Comex routes it will be utilized in other areas.

Moose Warning from City Police

(Photo Courtesy of DNR)
With the start of moose season, City Police are warning motorists about the increase in wildlife on the roads.

Between September and November, there is an increase in accidents involving deer and moose.
The traffic division is asking motorists to be aware of the hazards with peak times being morning and evening.

Money for Provincial Trails and ATV Clubs

Fundy Royal MP Rob Moore announced funding today for local trails and recreation groups.

The announcement in Hampton of more than 43,000 dollars will be used to rehabilitate 31 kilometres of approved ATV trails between St. Martins and Hanford Brook.

Another part of the project will see signs placed along the trails and three culverts installed to allow proper water drainage.

Ottawa's contribution is just over 19, 000 dollars and the release stated that the federal funding is a result of the hard work and support of the Saint John ATV Club and the New Brunswick ATV Federation.

New Doctor for Trauma System

(Photo Courtesy of GNB Web-Site)

There is a new doctor coming to Saint John. Dr. Marcel Martin, a general and trauma surgeon from Quebec, has been named the medical director of the new provincial trauma program for the Province. Martin will be based here in Saint John, but his role will be provincial, so he will be on the road a lot.

Provincial Government representatives says the hiring of Dr. Martin is a huge step forward toward setting up a province-wide trauma network.

Search on for Missing Man

(Photo courtesy of RCMP)

RCMP in Manitoba is asking for your help in locating Christopher Parlow. He was last seen on September 5 and has not been in contact with family, friends or co-workers since September 9. He is 48 years old, 5"10" and weighs 300lbs. Officers think he is driving a grey 2006 Ford Fusion, Manitoba licence plate DTX 117.

Based on information from police they believe Parlow may be heading here to Saint John. You can go to our website and check out a photo of Parlow and if you see him, contact RCMP or crime-stoppers.

Coyotes in Quinton Heights

First it was bears and now home-owners in Quinton Heights are being plagued with coyotes. A caller to our 648-3000 news-line tells us they have been seen and heard howling through the neighbourhood in recent days. Gary Moore is a regional biologist with the Department of Natural Resources and tells CHSJ News, it's not unusual that the animals are on the move like they are every fall.

Moore says coyotes have a reputation of being afraid of people but it's good practice to not leave garbage lying around and keep an eye on your pets.

Fire Destroys Home in Canal

Fire has destroyed a home in Canal, just a few kilometres north of St. George earlier this morning. A man and woman escaped the flames with no injuries. Still no word on what sparked the blaze.

The Red Cross tells us so far this year, there have been over 300 significant fires where people have been permanently or temporarily displaced from their houses or apartments throughout Atlantic Canada. 12 people have been killed in house fires so far this year.

Provincial Greens Have a New Leader

The Provincial Green Party has a new leader and his name will ring familiar to those in Saint John. Jack McDougall captured the title by acclamation at the end of the leadership nomination period. He has been serving as advisor to the parties executive council and tells CHSJ News, the party felt it needed someone to lead with experience and organization.

McDougall admits he is not the best person to lead the party into the future since he is unilingual and has never been elected to public office, but his experience in grassroots organizing in both politics and community campaigns gives the party a great edge.

Moose Hunting Season Underway

(Photo Submitted by a Listener)

Don't be suprised if you see a lot of people wearing hunters orange over the next three days. Today marks the opening of moose hunting season around the Province and 3000 people this year are eligible to bag a swamp donkey. Over 50,000 hunters apply for the computerized draw in the summer.

Officials with the Department of Natural Resources remind all hunters to be safe in the woods and respect your fellow hunters. They also remind all that once you bag a moose, you must take the entire animal to a Natural Resources Office or tagging station. The office in Welsofrd tells our news-room that a woman from Fredericton has bagged a bull. She was in to register just after 9:30am this morning.

Gas Prices Hold Steady

The price of gasoline is about the same as yesterday as the Energy and Utilities Board releases its weekly price schedule. The maximum price for regular self-serve gas is 94.5 --plus a possible two cent delivery charge. That's down from 94.6 last week.

Diesel fuel has gone up just over a penny to land at 98.3, furnace oil has climbed two pennies to 83 cents a litre, and propane has also gone up two cents to rest at 98.8.

Food Basket Cuts Ribbon on New Cold Storage

The Saint John Community Food Basket has officially cut the ribbon on its new cold storage facility at the port. Thanks to donations from businesses and the public, the food bank has a 43-foot refrigerated trailer and a 20-foot refrigerated shipping container on land provided by the Saint John Port Authority at its Lower Cove Terminal.

The food basket receives large quantities of frozen food from McCain Foods Limited and a cold storage is considered essential to being able to provide the frozen goodies to families and individuals. The refrigerated trailer has been donated by GE Trailer Fleet Services.

MP's Host Food Bank BBQ

The KV Food Bank is getting a boost today as the MP's for Saint John and Fundy Royal host a free BBQ to collect non-perishable food items. There will be face-painting and music by local musician Dan Cyr from 4:30pm to 7:30pm at the Meenan’s Cove Park – Beach House.

Eco Salmon Featured on Algonquin Menu

There is something new on the menu at the Algonquin Hotel in St Andrews. Cooke Aguaculture and the hotel restaurant have team up to serve Certified Eco Label Salmon. CEO Glen Cooke says they are hoping to have their product in as many restaurants in Atlantic Canada as possible.

Cooke says the have been working with with Fairmont Hotels across the country but he says it's nice to start with your home town to kick of the Eco label.

Lily Fair Kicks Off Tonight

A celebration of women's music will take place every month at Lily's Cafe in Rockwood Park. Karen Palmer is the organizer of Lily Fair, which kicks off tonight with Jaclyn Reinhart from Fredericton.

The fair will feature a new female artist from the Maritimes on the last Thursday of each month from 7pm until 10pm.

Garage Lost in Fire

A garage on the Lorneville Road is a complete loss after a fire yesterday evening. One car beside the garage also received minor damage.
No word on a cause at this point.

Girl Struck By Car

A six year old girl taken to hospital last night for minor injuries after being struck by a car. Police tell CHSJ news the girl was walking with her father when she darted out into traffic at 2452 Westfield Road.

No charges are expected and the girl is expected to be just fine.

Saint John Company an Award Contender

A Saint John company might take home some hardware at the National Awards for Tourism Excellence in November. T4G Limited is nominated for the Online Innovation Award for a project with New Brunswick Tourism and Parks called "My Trip Planner".

The awards will be handed out in a gala at the Tourism Leadership Summit here in Saint John.

New City Transit Bus to be Unveiled

Referring to a City Transit Bus as a forty-foot limo takes a new twist today. Transit officials will unveil their new articulated bus or what is better know to most as an organ bus. That's because it bends in the middle and can hold 60 riders as compared to 43 in the current fleet of 40-foot limos.

Several digniataries will be on hand for the ceremony including Transportation Minister Denis Landry. The ceremony will be held at the new transit commission building on McDonald Street strating at one o'clock.

Local MLA to Retire

Saying it is the right time......Saint John East MLA Roly MacIntyre is calling it a politicial career. After 15 years in the provincial spotlight, he will finish out this current mandate and then officially retire. It has been well documented in recent years that MacIntyre's health hasn't been the best undergoing bypass surgery earlier this year. MacIntyre tells CHSJ News, health certainly played a factor in his decision.

Home will be in a new garden home in Quispamsis with his wife after spending 33 years in Champlain Heights. As for any regrets, MacIntyre says he enjoyed every minute while on the job for his constituency.

Mayor Confused with Latest Turn of Events Regarding Long Wharf

Who is going to clean up the site? That appears to be the multi-million dollar question when it comes to the former lantic sugar site and the future use of Long Wharf. The International Longshoreman's Association feels the sugar site should be cleaned up before any exchange of land takes place. Irving Oil wants to construct it's headquarters on Long Wharf. Mayor Ivan Court tells CHSJ News, he is confused by the Port Authorities recent moves.

Court says it appears to him the Port Authority is backing out of the deal. An official with Irving Oil tells CHSJ News, they hope to come up with a solution over who is responsible for cleaning up the sugar site with-in a few weeks.

Former MP Comments on Point Lepreau

With still no answer for the Provincial Government and NB Power from Atomic Energy of Canada concerning the refit at Point Lepreau, a former MP is adding his voice to the fray. Paul Zed tells CHSJ News, Prime Minister Harper needs to come clean with Premier Graham and Energy Minister Jack Keir.

Zed adds it has become quite clear over the past three years, the Harper Government has cut off a lot of funding for AECL making it a black hole that no one seems to understand.

Ribbon to be Cut at Canaport Site

Premier Graham is just one of several dignitaries that will be on hand at the Canaport LNG site this afternoon. This as the ribbon is cut to officially open the facility for business. Fransisco Garcia-Tobar is the Planning and Control Manager and tells CHSJ News, three and a half years of hard work will be celebrated today.

Garcia-Tobar adds at the peak of construction they averaged 1600 workers with 70 permanent employee's to be on site when work on the third storage tank wraps up. That is expected to be in the first half of next year.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Man Dies near Florenceville in a Single-Vehicle Crash

RCMP report a 57-year-old man died after a single vehicle crash yesterday east of Florenceville.
The man's vehicle left Route 107 in Glassville, rolled down an embankment several times and came to rest on its roof.
Marshall Ronald Cormier of East Brighton died at the scene.

Trouble at the West Side Mill

City Fire Crews have been busy since just before noon at the Irving Pulp and Paper mill. This after fire broke out in a molten sulphur tank which is 20 feet high and ten feet wide at the back end of the mill. District Chief Mark Gillian says it appears at this point, the fire is knocked down but they are keeping a close watch on readings from the tank to make sure the flames have been extinguished and it is not smouldering.

Gillan says there are no vapours which have left the mill but J.D. Irving crews are monitoring an area in Indian Town which is the direction the wind was blowing when the fire broke out. Nobody was hurt and the area of the fire remains shut down to staff.

Education and Technology Key To Business Progress

[Stephen Lund Addressing the Board of Trade Luncheon-----Photo by Dave Briggs]

The President of Nova Scotia Business says the key to growing business in Atlantic Canada is through education.
Stephen Lund tells CHSJ news, traditional businesses are going to have to adapt to the evolving information technology sector to stay sustainable.
Lund says if you're not up to speed on current technology you are going to limit how far you can progress in business.
He says another factor in progressing the business community in the Maritimes is educating the youth---he says kids need to be trained for the jobs of today....not yesterday.

Route 111 Upgrades

The provincial government is fast-tracking plans to upgrade the Route 111 interchange from the MacKay Highway into Quispamsis and Rothesay. MLA Stuart Jamieson tells CHSJ News the upgrades will include expanding the overpass from two lanes to four lanes.

Three contractors are currently bidding on the contract which is expected to be awarded early in 2010. Jamieson says construction is slated to begin in 2011 and be complete by 2013.

Irving Oil in Negotiations with City and Port for Long Wharf

Andy Carson with Fort Reliance, the umbrella company for Irving Oil, tells CHSJ news they are still in negotiations with the city and the port regarding the Long Wharf land deal.

Carson says they are willing to pay fair-market value for the former Lantic Sugar site to make the land swap with the port happen. He says they hope to come up with a solution within a matter of weeks.

ILA Fights to Put Land Liability on Irving Oil

The International Longshoreman's Association is taking issue with the Saint John Port Authority's standards for cleaning up the old Lantic Sugar refinery site. The site is at the centre of a deal that would allow Irving Oil to build its headquarters on Long Wharf. The port says it won't take ownership of the land until the metals are removed. But ILA Business Agent Pat Riley tells CHSJ news the port authority isn't pushing for a thorough clean up.

Under the deal, the city would sell the land to Irving Oil for 1.2 million dollars, which would then swap it with the port authority for Long Wharf where Irving Oil plans to build its headquarters. Riley says tax payers should not be on the hook for cleaning up the contaminated land in the future. He says that liability should fall to Irving Oil. The company is currently in negotiations with the city.

Animal Shelter Fundraiser Kicks Off Saturday

The Saint John Animal Rescue League is hoping to raise 20 thousand dollars this weekend with its annual ball drop at the Rockwood Park Golf Course. Executive Director, Janet Foster tells CHSJ news tickets are still on sale and there are two spots left for teams who want to join in the tournament.

Foster says the funds raised on Saturday will be used to care for the animals at the shelter. Tickets for the ball drop are $5 each or three for $10. The shot-gun start for the tournament is at 11am and the helicopter ball drop will take place at 5pm.

Dream House Lottery Tour

Tickets are now on sale and the house is open for tours.

Health Critic Weighs in on Doctor Settlement

The Conservative Health Critic says the dispute over a wage freeze for the province's doctors has already done damage to New Brunswick's reputation as being physician friendly. Margaret Ann Blaney's comments come as the provincial Medical Society and the Graham Government have reached a settlement in principle. Blaney tells CHSJ news this never should have happened in the first place.

The doctors launched legal action when the government threatened to impose a two-year wage freeze. That came after the medical society had reached a tentative agreement with the province that was not implemented, but was ratified by the doctors. Blaney says both sides are now pretty much back to square one.

Break and Enter in Sussex

Sussex RCMP have released few details but say they are still investigating a break and enter at a business on Vail Court. A sum of money was stolen but police currently have no suspects. RCMP say there is no sign of forced entry and there is only minimal damage to the inside of the building.

Trailer Fire in Bloomfield

The good news is no one was hurt but the bad is fire has destroyed an abandoned house trailer in Bloomfield.

Not alot of details at this point except the trailer wasn't insured and the blaze is suspicious.

ATV Trail Being Improved in Sussex Area

The federal government has announced funding to improve local trails in the Sussex area. Fundy Royal MP Rob Moore says the Conservative government, along with the National Trails Coalition, will spend ten thousand dollars to construct a 30-foot span bridge across a small stream that flows into the Big Salmon River near Londonderry.
The federal government will contribute five thousand dollars to the project, which is the result of hard work and support by the Sussex Valley ATV Club and the New Brunswick ATV Federation.

Mixed Housing Project Update

Progress on getting the mixed housing development Abbey Saint Andrew moving is going slowly. Chair Peter Jollymore tells CHSJ News, there is no update right now because they continue to wait on approval from Canada Mortgage and Housing, as well as the bank.

Jollymore says he is confident the project will be approved. He expects construction will begin sometime in October.

Wind Farm to be Toured Today

(Energy Minister Jack Keir ---File Photo)

It's almost finished and Energy Minister Jack Keir along with Premier Shawn Graham will tour the new wind farm in Caribou today. It's a 99-mega-watt generation facility and Minister Keir tells CHSJ News, the site is set to come on line in November and this is just part of their orgininal promise.

Keir adds they will reach their goal of 400-mega-watts of wind power by next year. The Caribou Wind Park is located 62 kilometers past Bathurst.

New Denmark Residents Talk Wind Power

Residents in New Denmark are hoping for changes to regulations regarding wind farms. They have presented a petition to their MLA looking to have the set-up rules for turbines changed. Instead of the current 500 meters, residents would like to have a buffer zone of 2000 meters between the turbines and any home, school or business. Spokes-person Sam Porter tells CHSJ News, new studies indicate there are dangers associated with the turbines.

Energy Minister Keir tells CHSJ News, he understands the concerns and the private sector that is investing in the wind farm must talk to the community to iron these issues out.

Board of Trade Luncheon

The President and CEO of Nova Scotia Business Inc. is in Saint John today. Stephen Lund is the guest speaker at a Board of Trade Luncheon this afternoon. Lund is from Saint John and leads a team of business-driven professionals who sell Nova Scotia to the world and bring the world to Nova Scotia.

Lund will speak about his pro-active and results driven approach to business and the economy and what businesses in Atlantic Canada must do to remain competitive.

Family Centre Kick-off Today

Politicians from all three levels of government will be at a news conference this morning on the Loch Lomond Road. It's to officially launch a one million dollar fund-raising effort by St. Josephs Church. The money will go towards the construction of a multi-functional facility to meet the existing and future needs of the community.

Church officials say the new facility will improve access to a range of services for the community. A name for the new facility has not been chosen. Things get started at eleven o'clock.

Top Marks for Saint John Port

(Saint John Port)

Plenty of smiles from the people who work for the Port of Saint John. A panel of industry judges has voted this port as one of the top three transit ports of call in the world. Captain Al Soppitt, President and CEO of the Port Authority, says the nomination is a gratifying recognition of the region and it's people.

The bulk of the cruise ship season continues to unfold with two ships in port today and the date most have circled on their calendar, the arrival of the Queen Victoria next Thursday.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Doctors and Province Find Some Middle Ground

After months of arguing.....the Provincial Medical Society and the Graham Government have reached a settlement in principle in their dispute over a threatened wage freeze. In a joint statement, both parties are encouraged by what has been achieved since a decision was made to adjourn a court hearing last week.

The doctors launched legal action after the government threatened to impose a two-year wage freeze. That came after the medical society reached a tentative agreement with the province that was never implemented, but was ratified by the doctors. Both sides have agreed not to speak about the settlement until papers have been prepared and put in place which could take close to a month.

Noon Hour Blaze Hits Duke Street Apartment Building

Fire in Uptown Saint John

(Fire Crews Snuffing Out Flames)
Photo by Jim Hennessy

Nobody hurt after fire ripped through a two-storey apartment building at the corner of Duke and Sydney Street just after twelve this afternoon. Corey Harris lives on the second floor and was just getting up to start his day. He smelled the smoke and banged on all the doors on his way out of the building and saved a kitten as well.
District Fire Chief Gerry Morris says heavy smoke was rolling from the 164 Duke when they arrived. Most of the heavy damage appears to be sustained to the first floor apartment. No word yet on what sparked the blaze.

Province Conducting Gaming Study

New Brunswickers are being asked for their input on gambling and related issues in a telephone survey. MarketQuest Research Group will be randomly selecting a sample of 28 hundred residents over the age of 19. The study is apart of a committment by the province to examine gambling habits of New Brunswickers, and issues relating to problem gambling. No word on whether or not the timing of survey has anything to do with the government sanctioned casino opening it's doors in Moncton next spring.

2nd Annual Home Lottery Begins

The second annual hospital home lottery is officially underway. The home again this year is located in Drury Cove and is worth over $750,000 dollars. It will be awarded fully furnished, decorated and landscaped. Executive Director of the Regional Hospital Foundation Tim Cameron says this is an amazing home:
Last year, close to 15,000 people viewed the Dream Home with the eventual winner selling it on KiJiJi for a hefy profit. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at one hundred dollars apiece or three for $250. All of the money raised will support priority programs at the Regional Hospital, Provincial Heart Center and MindCare.

Gagetown Says No To Wildlife Fence Changes

[CFB Gagetown Crest-----File Photo]
With no operational or training requirements for additional gates, Base Gagetown officials are not sold on the idea of making access routes through moose fencing on Highway Seven. The Provincial All Terrain Vehicle Association has proposed the idea to the Department of Transportation which says it will not happen. Captain James Donovan tells CHSJ News, there have been close calls with ATV's in the past:

Most if not all of the wildlife fencing along Highway Seven runs parallel with Base Gagetown property.

Province Invests in Eco-Projects in St. Andrews

[Enivornment Minister Rick Miles-----File Photo]

The province is kicking in over $150 thousand dollars through the Environmental Trust Fund to 11 projects in St. Andrews.
Environment Minister Rick Miles says investing into the environmentally friendly projects will make communities healthy places to live, and will drive economic growth.
Quoddy Futures is receiving $20 thousand dollars to monitor and improve water quality in the St. Croix Estuary, and an additional $15 thousand dollars to involve the public and ecotourism operators in developing activities to protect the ecosystem.

DOT Says The Work Has Been Done

A caller to our newsroom is asking why a hole in the moose fencing along Highway 7 hasn't been fixed? A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation tells CHSJ News, official word from the district engineers is the work has been done. He adds the repairs were carried out several weeks ago when the breaks were first brought to their attention.

He says it's possible it is a new break and the Department of Transportation relys on residents to be the eyes and ears on the highways when it comes to things like this.

Suspicious Fire

One woman has been taken into custody for suspected arson following a fire at 4 Wentworth Street this morning. The woman entered a fire station around 9:30am to report the fire at her home and apparently claimed to have lit it herself.
Fire crews found burnt paper, lighters and other material in an apartment but there was no damage to the actual building.

Mayor of St. Stephen Unconcerned by Litigation Against New Employee

St. Stephen Mayor Jed Purcell says the town knew about the lawsuit against John Ferguson before hiring him to be their new Chief Administrative Officer. Purcell says it has nothing to do with Ferguson being able to perform the job.

Purcell says he has one hundred percent faith that Ferguson can carry out his new duties.

Former City Councilor Surfaces

(Former common councilor John Ferguson at his new seat around the St Stephen town council table last night - photo by Kim Hall)

A former Saint John city councilor has re-surfaced in the Town of St. Stephen. John Ferguson has been hired as the town's Chief Administrative Officer. Ferguson you'll remember fell out of favor at City Hall after allegations of making slanderous comments about the pension board which resulted in an on-going lawsuit against him. Ferguson tells CHSJ News, he doesn't suspect the Town has an issue with hiring someone currently in litigation with another municipality and it never came up during the interview.

Ferguson adds he can't talk about the on-going court case with City Hall which is still in the discovery process. The new job in St. Stephen will pay Ferguson $75,000 dollars a year which he will start next week on the 28th.

Three Men Arrested for Assaulting Police

Three young men are facing charges after a scuffle with city police last night. Staff Sgt. Don Cooper tells CHSJ news officers received a call about men acting drunk and disorderly around 7:30pm yesterday evening on MacLaren Blvd. The men allegedly came at police and one of the officers was knocked to the ground.
Staff Sgt. Cooper says the men--ages 18 and 19--will appear in court at a later date for assaulting a peace officer. One man is still in custody until he sobers up later this morning.
Meanwhile, police are looking into a stabbing on the West Side around 9:30pm last night. Police say one man suffered minor injuries after being stabbed in the hand on Suffolk Street. No arrests have been made.

Highway Crash Sends One to Hospital

One woman remains in hospital in serious condition after a crash on the MacKay Highway yesterday around 5pm. The collision between a car and a motorcycle left the highway near the Rothesay Avenue exit grid-locked during the supper time rush.

Police tell us the woman driving the motorcycle has suffered a broken collar bone, chipped vertebrae and sliced spleen. She is recovering at the Regional.

New Banners for Uptown

Uptown Saint John is adding a new twist to promote the variety of cultural heritage in the uptown. Sixty new district banners will be displayed to identify two character areas. The first is the cultural district which includes much of the Trinity Royal Preservation Area and a Market District which includes the area around the Market.
The Cultural Area highlights the blend of heritage arts and entertainment while the Market District is focused on promoting the Market as a jewel in the uptown.

Funding Announcement Planned for Sussex

Fundy Royal MP Rob Moore has a late appointment in the Village of Sussex Corner tonight. A funding announcement will be made at the Village Office at seven o'clock.
It is cash for the nation trails coalition and Sussex ATV Club.

NBCC to Offer Free Courses

Good news for adults looking to upgrade their school studies. Starting October 19th, free academic upgrade courses will be offered at New Brunswick Community College campuses.

The programs will include a comprehensive orientation, email and telephone support and evening tutorial sessions. A spokesperson for the Department of Education tells CHSJ News, any adult aiming to improve their skills to find a better job is able to take part in the courses---but space is limited.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Schryer Satisfied With Vaccine Plans

(Health Minister Mary Schryer - file photo)

Provincial Health Minister Mary Schryer says she has faith in plans for rolling out the H-1-N-1 flu vaccine later this year.
Some health professionals in Ontario are urging officials to make sure a proper system of checks and balances are in place before speeding up the start of the vaccination program -- but -- Schryer says she's comfortable with the plans she has heard so far.
Meantime -- the Minister wants to make sure people realize they won't have to pay for the vaccine -- she says it will be available to all New Brunswickers free of charge on a voluntary basis.

New Justice Building Still Months Away

(Supply and Services Minister Ed Doherty - file photo)

While construction of the Regional Hospital expansion is moving along -- we are still months away from a start on the new provincial Justice Building which will be part of the Peel Plaza development.
In response to a CHSJ News question -- Supply and Services Minister Ed Doherty says they're still working out details of various agreements with the city on things like the detention cells -- tunnel between the justice complex and new police station -- and -- the outside plaza.
The province is still working with a short list of potential partners for the Justice building -- a final decision on the successful bidder is expected in December with construction to begin as soon as possible after the selection of the partner.

Supply & Services Minister Ed Doherty Speaks With Reporters

The Minister responds to questions about the expansion at the Regional Hospital and the status of the new Justice Building at Peel Plaza.

No Changes Planned

The Department of Transportation has the final say about changes to any wild-life fencing around the province and their answer appears to be clear. There will be no changes to the fencing along Highway Seven. DOT Spokes-person Andrew Holland tells CHSJ News, they spoke with the ATV Federation last week.

Holland says the department is very clear about this....there will be no cutting of wild-life fencing on Highway Seven or any of the other 300 kilometers of fencing around the Province.