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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Waterfront Union At Odds On How Money Should Be Spent




(Port reported in line for government funding for upgrades - photo courtesy Saint John Port Authority)

The waterfront union is applauding the prospects of over 40-million dollars in federal and provincial funding for port improvements.
But International Longshoremen's Association rep Pat Riley tells CHSJ News the money is earmarked for the wrong place -- it should be used to repair and upgrade some deteriorating piers on the west side.
Riley says the condition of some of the west side piers is a safety issue and may eventually cost the port business.
Both the federal and provincial governments are close to cutting cheques for a 42-million dollar upgrade to expand docking facilities beyond Pugsley Terminal to handle more - and - larger cruise ships.

Opposition Critic Fumes Over Social Assistance Rates



Saint John Portland Conservative MLA Trevor Holder says the provincial governments has broken a contract with the public. The premier recently announced he won't bring social assistance rates up to the Atlantic average as promised in the Charter for Change. Shawn Graham says they have new information since taking office. But Holder says an election promise is still a promise.

Social Development Minister Mary Schryer says they would rather have a made in New Brunswick solution. Holder says that doesn't hold much water.

Maine Mayor Pushes for Greater Cooperation with New Brunswick



The mayor of Calais, Maine says his state and New Brunswick need to work together to realize their energy and industrial goals. Vinton Cassidy tells us he is strongly in favour of the proposed LNG terminal in Maine which would bring tanker traffic through Passamaquoddy Bay. The provincial and federal governments have said they won't allow the development to take place--but-- Cassidy says if we scratch their backs, they'll scratch ours.

The provincial government recently announced an energy corridor going through Maine carrying power transmission and natural gas lines to New England markets.

RCMP Seize Illegal Cigarettes



Provincial RCMP have made another advancement in the war on illegal tobacco trafficking. A traffic stop in the northwestern part of the province yesterday (Wednesday) has led to the seizure of 240 thousand contraband cigarettes.  Mounties arrested two men near Saint-Basile and they are scheduled to appear in court on June 17th. The tobacco seized is worth about 27 thousand dollars and RCMP believe it was destined for Nova Scotia.

Just last week RCMP seized nearly one million cigarettes in Northeastern New Brunswick.

Canaport LNG Continues Environmental Studies of Marsh Creek



Canaport LNG has gained early access to a couple of city owned sites in order to complete engineering and design work for improvements to Marsh Creek. The company is determining the viability of its plans to develop functioning wetlands and greater flood retention in the Coldbook area, near Glen Falls Elementary School, and along Marsh Line, near Strescon.

The project would be part of the company's requirement for wetlands compensation, to make up for wetlands destroyed during the construction of Canaport LNG. Deputy City Manager Andrew Beckett tells CHSJ news they are hoping to include a public viewing area in Coldbrook and the initial stages of walking trails along the Marsh Line. The company is expected to report back to council in the fall on the viability of the project.

Harbour Station to Get All New Lighting



Harbour Station is getting a lighting face lift. The city is upgrading all interior lighting with energy efficient light bulbs--a move that will save 16 thousand dollars annually in energy costs. City staff say the replacement wasn't in this years budget but it's in the city's interest--and add, the existing lights were installed in the early 1990's and are due for replacement.

The total cost for installation is about 110 thousand dollars with a 6.7 year payback--and--the city will get 12 thousand dollars in grants under the ecoEnergy Retrofit Incentive Program. The estimated annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the lighting upgrade is 200 tons of carbon dioxide.

Port Funding Not A Done Deal



news-cruise ship.jpg

(Cruise ship docked at Water Street terminal - file photo)

It's not a done deal -- that's the word from Saint John Conservative M-P Rodney Weston in response to media reports Ottawa and the province will be cutting cheques for a 42-million dollar expansion of docking facilities at the local port.
He says it's one of a number of files being worked on at the moment -- a project he says he supports.
Meantime -- provincial government sources confirm the proposal is in "the discussion stage" at the moment.
The port authority says it needs more docking facilities to handle more and larger cruise ships.

Cardboard Cat Causes Chaos



It takes all kinds -- and -- in Hampton last night -- it took a twisted mind to come up with this one.
Hampton R-C-M-P called after a woman almost went off the road while swerving to avoid a cat in the middle of the road -- turns out it was a cardboard cat!
Police say someone had taken the time to cut out the cat and then place it on the road -- an officer responded and removed the cardboard kitty.

Gas Prices Are Back Down



The month of April closes out on a high note on the gas front. The Energy and Utilities Board has released it's weekly price schedule which shows a litre of self-serve is down just over a penny to 86.3. Most stations in Greater Saint John are selling a litre of self-serve for 86.5.

Diesel is down just over two cents at 86.2, furnace oil, like gasoline is down over a penny at 68.2 and propane tops off at 82.1 which is down percentage points. At this time last year, a litre of self-serve gasoline was selling for over $1.20.

Tax Deadline Day is Here



The clock is ticking down to tonight's deadline for filing your 2008 personal income tax return. You have until midnight tonight to mail or email your return -- but -- Roger Haineault of Help For Taxes tells CHSJ News there are some people who have a little longer to file.

Haineault says if you have a refund coming and are late filing -- the government won't give you a hard time -- but -- if you owe money and don't file by midnight tonight -- you will be hit with an immediate five percent late filing penalty and one percent per month there after.