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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Local MP Supports Annual Seal Hunt



Saint John MP Rodney Weston is defending the annual seal hunt. Liberal Senator Mac Harb, recently introduced a bill in the Senate to ban the hunt. Weston says it's shameful the Liberal party allows these types of attacks on the seal hunt, at a time when seal hunters depend on the hunt more than ever.

The European Union continues to debate banning the import of seal products from Canada.


Public is Absent from the First Flood Meeting in the City



Even with rain in the forecast residents of Saint John did not come in numbers to the first meeting outlining preparations during flood season.
Manager of the Saint John Emergency Management Organization Murielle Provost says residents living along rivers or streams need to prepare a 72 hour survival kit and to be ready for the worst.

Provost says for those living in Greater Saint John the next couple of weeks will determine how bad water levels will get. She says May 3rd generally is the beginning of the flood season for this city.
For those interested in attending a meeting, a presentation will be made at the KBM tonight at 7, and tomorrow at the North End Community Center starting at 3.

Numbers to know in this emergency flood season:

Emergenc- 911

NB EMO - 1800-561-4034

NB River Watch- 1-888-561-4048

Saint John Municipal Operations & Engineering/Saint John Water- 658-4455

Saint John Energy- 658-5252

NB Department of Health- 658-3022

Non Emergency Police- 648-3333


Increasing Water Rates Here to Stay



Common council has hit a dead end when it comes to exempting seniors, those on fixed incomes and the poor from flat water rate increases. City solicitor John Nugent says the city has no authority to make the exemptions. Councilor Carl Killen put forward a motion in January asking city staff to develop a means test for such an exemption.

Nugent says staff have come up with a few other options council can consider instead. They include deferring payments of the increases, creating classes based on the number of people living in a home, providing water meters or amending the Municipalities Act. Council has filed the information away.


Harbour Clean Up Cost Going Up



The cost of Harbour Clean up has increased by nearly half a million dollars.  The city has approved a contract for services that will cost 412 thousand dollars more than it would have three years ago. The construction management of the Eastern Waste Water Treatment facility was meant to take place in 2006, but was delayed because the financial contribution agreement was not signed until last September.

City staff are urging council to move ahead with the project and suck up the extra engineering, equipment, and management fees.


MLA Pushes for Provincial Funding for Canada Games Stadium



Saint John-Portland Conservative MLA Trevor Holder is calling on the Liberal government to cough up its share of funding for the refurbishment of the Canada Games Stadium. Holder says the province has been approached for a 1.4 million dollar contribution and everyone is waiting.

Saint John has committed one million dollars to the project and another one million dollars has been committed to by Emera Brunswick Pipeline. If funding can be secured from the federal and provincial governments, UNBSJ has agreed to contribute 800 thousand dollars.  Holder says it would be nice to have the renovations finished by the Jeux de l'Acadie in June 2010.  The total cost of the refurbishment is 5.6 million dollars.

New Beer for Moosehead



Moosehead Breweries is unveiling a new brand of beer targeted at older consumers. ""Cracked Canoe"" will have an alcohol content of 3.5% with fewer than 100 calories. Ray Gracewood is the maritime Director of Marketing and tells CHSJ News, the bottled brand is the traditional green bottle but the can takes on a different look.

""Cracked Canoe"" will be launched from coast to coast this week and will be available here at home on May.1st for $21.99 a dozen. This is the first time the company has nationally launched a product since Moosehead Lager in the early 90's.

Should Health Care be Private



It's time to say no to our provincial Health Minister--- that is the call of the Provincial Health Coalition. That coming out of a town hall style meeting hosted by the group last night at the Delta. Co-chair Debbie LaSalle tells CHSJ News, Mike Murphy's moves towards private health care would introduce the profit margin into the equation and would not work as efficiently as the public system.

LaSalle says all Canadians truly value the medicare system we have and though it has its issues, those problems should be dealt with rather than moving to a U-S Style two tier system in which many more problems would exist.

A request for wage freeze across the Board



The city will ask all commissions, boards and agencies who receive funding from tax payers to impose a two-year wage freeze on its employees. Councilor Chris Titus put forward the motion last night asking for the wage freeze this and next year or following any labour contracts. Those to be asked include Enterprise Saint John, Saint John Transit and the city Police Commission.

In addition, council expects any organization looking for funding from the city in next year's budget and in 2011 to provide financial documents showing their wages and salaries have also been frozen. Councilor Carl Killen was the sole person to oppose the motion.

Bellisle Group on Alwards Promise



What Conservative leader David Alward is preaching is not being taken as gospel by all. The day after promising to keep three river ferry runs afloat if elected to power in Fredericton, The Bellisle chapter of the Save Our Ferries group believes the party is protecting themselves. Spokes-person Linda Watson tells CHSJ News, with nine days left before the service is dry-docked, a solution is out there.

Watson strongly believes Premier Graham will change his mind on this issue and there will be changes to the current set-up to keep the ferries on the rivers.  

Analyzing the Conservatives Promise



Is the Provincial Conservative Party writing cheques they won't be able to cash? That is the question we posed to a political scientist at UNB Saint John after Leader David Alward announced if his party is elected to power next year, he will keep the Bellisle, Gagetown and Hampstead ferries running. Don Desserud tells CHSJ News, this is similar to the toll-busting rallies from a few years ago.

Desserud says the ace for the Conservatives is portraying themselves to voters they still understand what living in the rural area's of the province is all about.




So You Think You Can Dance is in the City



If your a fan of the show.....""So You Think You Can Dance Canada"" today is your big chance to show off your moves. Auditions for the show are being held at the Imperial Theater through-out the day beginning with registration at eight o'clock. Jean Marc Gerrenieux is one of the judges and tells CHSJ News, this is their first time in Saint John and are looking forward to seeing the talent.

Everyone chosen today will make their way to Toronto in the coming weeks as filming for the program begins to air in the fall.

Aims Report Card is Out



Teachers and officials in both District Six and Eight will be pleased to hear this. The seventh annual AIMS report card on high schools in Atlantic Canada has been released and it shows progress being made and school performance improving. At the top of the pile in the Anglophone sector is Upper Miramichi Regional High School with an A. Kennebecasis Valley High School maintains a solid B-Plus which is good enough for second place.

Other schools in Greater Saint John finished as follows.........Saint John High comes in fifth with a B-Plus, Rothesay High has a B which is good for 13th place. Sussex High also has a B and comes in 10th and Saint Mac's is 21st with a B Minus. IN the Francophone sector.......Sameul de Champlain is fifth with a solid B. This is the seventh year for this report.

Speaking Out Against Tannery Court Proposal



The South End Sustainable Communities Group is responding to a report by Vibrant Communities Saint John and the Working Group of Business Community Anti-Poverty Initiatives concerning Tannery Court. The report states the project does not meet the Canada's best practices because it is putting a low income apartment building in an area that is already impoverished. Spokes-person Howard LiBillois tells CHSJ News, it's his groups mission to inform people of the problems surrounding Tannery Court.

LiBillois says putting a 50 unit low income apartment complex in a priority neighborhood is irresponsible and consolidating the city's poorest in one neighborhood.

More Chatter About Police Station



Mayor Ivan Court says a new police station in Saint John has been in the works for 11 years and now is not the time to stall the momentum. Court released a public statement last night in response to comments made by a couple of council members. Both Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase and councilor Bill Farren have said they will put the brakes on their support for the project if the burden is too great for tax payers. Farren says he is just making sure the financing is in place with no pressure on the tax rate.

Councilor Gary Sullivan says the city has consulted with the public as well as experts and with investment firms coming to the city, continuing with the project is what's prudent.

Landry Defends Move



The Transportation Minister says the provincial government is abiding by the new standards in place for ferries. Denis Landry tells CHSJ News, the Canada Shipping Act was updated in 2001 and the three ferries in question do not meet new standards.

Premier Graham stated in the Legislature last Friday that it is only common sense, that given the age of the vessels, they must be replaced. The problem is, when the budget was unveiled last month, the Transportation Department announced there is no money to do so.