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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Long Wharf Proposal Clears Major Hurdle



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(Cruise ship docked at Long Wharf - photo courtesy Saint John Port Authority)

Irving Oil's proposed 30 million dollar headquarters on Long Wharf is one step closer to reality.
The federal minister of Transport and Infrastructure has given approval for the Saint John Port Authority to lease and develop the wharf.
Saint John MP Rodney Weston tells CHSJ News the land is now open for an agreement to be finalized between the city, the port authority and Irving Oil.
Irving is buying the former Lantic Sugar property from the city for just over a million dollars as part of a land swap with the Port Authority for property at Long Wharf where the company wants to construct a new office and cruise ship complex.

Mayor Not Convinced by Recent Municipal Ranking



Mayor Ivan Court is left shaking his head after the release of the first Municipal Performance Report by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. Saint John came 82nd place out of 94 municipalities in the province with a "C" grade for efficiency and effectiveness. Court tells CHSJ news he questions how the municipalities were compared.

City staff are analyzing the report and Deputy City Manager Andrew Beckett says they have not been able to figure out how the conclusions were drawn.

Saint John Spending More to Achieve Less



AIMS Executive Vice President, Charles Cirtwell, tells CHSJ News Saint John is spending more to achieve average results for public safety, economic development and city service delivery. He says the city's recent ranking is based on the amount of money spent for city services compared to the rest of the province---while taking into consideration the size of the city.

Cirtwell says the question now is whether the mayor and staff will complain about the report and deny their "C" grade or look at what they can improve on.


High School Students to Name New Cruise Terminal



The Saint John Port Authority is holding a contest for high school students to name the new cruise ship terminal.  The name will be selected from Districts 6 & 8 students as well as Rothesay-Netherwood School and Samuel de Champlain. Students must submit their suggestions along with a 200 word essay outlining their reasons including geological and historical information.

The winning submission will be announced on June 8th at the Official Cruise Terminal Opening Ceremony.


SJ Energy to Consider LED Light Bulbs for Street Lamps



Saint John Energy is not prepared to convert its street lamps to energy efficient L-E-D light bulbs. But President, Eric Marr tells CHSJ news they are considering the idea. He says they have received three samples of L-E-D lights and will be installing and studying them to determine if SJ Energy will need to re-design their street lamps or simply replace existing incandescent bulbs.

Marr says they are interested in making the switch if it's cost effective--but--says L-E-D lights are currently quite expensive. A Nova Scotia town has recently decided to replace all of its street lamp bulbs with L-E-Ds.

Blanket Parking Ban Proposed



This one may catch a few people off guard -- as part of a proposed new snow removal plan -- the city is planning to ban overnight parking on most streets including subdivisions between November and April.
Public Works Director Shayne Galbraith tells CHSJ News the ban would help with snow plowing.
Galbraith says another recommendation is stepped up education about - and - enforcement of a bylaw which prevents property owners from plowing snow onto sidewalks and roadways.

WildLife Money is Made Available



The New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund is throwing around alot of money for 61 projects related to the enhancement of the province's wildlife, fish and their habitats. The total is just over $616,000 dollars which is money made up from several area's including the cost for hunting and fishing licenses.

Some of the projects receiving the cash include $17,000 for the Kennebecasis Watershed Restoration Committee, $6800 for the Hammond River Angling Association and the Ducks Unlimited Nest Box program will get just over $5900 dollars. 

District Six Provincial Report Cards are In



The results of the provincial assessments administered to various grades throughout District 6 are out and parents will soon be seeing a report on how their child is doing. The Department of Education is issuing an individual report for each student explaining whether or not they are below or above the provincial performance level in reading and writing and what the averages are across the province. Superintendent Zoe Watson says her district is meeting the average in most literacy categories, but it's tough to meet the high provincial expectations.

Watson says district 6 is doing very well in being above or meeting the provincial average in literacy, but math scores are slipping especially in Grade 5.

ILA Continues to Question Port Authority



Are we giving away to much to cruise lines? That question raised by the International Longshoreman's Association following the release of a report by cruise industry expert Ros Klein. It warns ports in this part of the country must stand up for what is due them when dealing with the cruise industry. The I.L.A says Saint John's passenger tariff is $7.34 which is a loonie or more below Halifax and Quebec. Spokes-person Pat Riley tells CHSJ News, if we are going to keep building mutli-million dollar infrastructure like cruise terminals, there must be full value return.

Riley adds we are essentially doing the same job when it comes to the cruise industry as Halifax and by not charging the same passenger tariff, alot of money is being lost that the Port needs.


Flood Watch is on Near Fredericton



A close watch by the Emergency Measures Organization is on in Fredericton and all area's below it. This as water levels will peak at 6.5 meters today in the Capital City right through to Jemseg so the flood watch is on. Th latest weather picture not showing any rain until Saturday but EMO Spokes-person Karl Wilmot tells CHSJ News, take nothing for granted when it comes to the Saint John River.

Water levels are expected to drop over the next few days. 


Blood task Force Getting Geared Up



The task force assembled to try and stop the Canadian Blood Services Distribution center on University Avenue from moving to Halifax is plotting it's strategy. They will meet with Department of Health officials on Tuesday for a briefing on the information to date. Rothesay Conservative MLA Margaret Ann Blaney is a member of the group and tells CHSJ News, comments from the C.O.O. of CBS earlier this week, talking about trying to make this a smooth transition is not what they want to hear.

Blaney says any talk of this model working in Ontario doesn't hold water because the Regional Hospital is home to a heart and trauma center and a distribution center nearby is a must.


Irving Oil has Plans for It's Refinery



The paper work has been filed for a huge maintenance project at the Irving Oil Refinery. The company wants to modify the operation to make more gasoline which will enhance the furnace and increase emissions by about 0.5%. Spokes-person Leslie MacLeod tells CHSJ News, this is similar to something they do every year which has employed close to 800 additional workers.

Irving Oil has filed the paper work this week with the Environment Department for an Environmental Impact Assessment but no word on when officials will have an answer.


Former Principal will Stay on With District



The man who held the position of principal of Bellisle Elementary won't be returning to that post. Erik Millet gained national attention when he refused to let students sing the national anthem before the start of the school day in the class-room. Millett has handed in his resignation and District 6 superintendent Zoe Watson tells CHSJ News, he will continue to be an employee of the district.

Millett received rude and threatening emails. Watson says no one thought the story was going to explode the way it did and Milletts resignation was not the outcome anyone wanted.

Gas Prices Remain Stable



There is not much to talk about on the gas front this week. The Energy and Utilities Board has released it's weekly price schedule and the price for a litre of self-serve is down by percentage points, coming in at 84.6 cents. Most stations have a posted pump price of 85.3.

Furnace Oil is down by close to two cents coming in at 71.6. Diesel takes a real nice dip, dropping by over three cents to land at 91.1 cents.