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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Long Wharf Activity Creating Buzz



Mayor Ivan Court is happy to see some preliminary work getting underway for Irving Oil's proposed new headquarters complex.
The company will be driving some test piles at the site to determine the rock composition in the area -- and -- Court tells CHSJ News the 30-million dollar complex is one of a couple of projects which will help revitalize the city's core.
The new chair of the Board of Trade says the city is in a unique position with the proposed Irving Oil headquarters complex at Long Wharf.
Kathy Craig tells CHSJ News it's the sort of anchor complex the city center needs -- she says not many cities our size have a world class headquarters in the down town.

TIES 2 Work Program Getting Provincial Cash




[Post Secondary Education, Training, and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault, and Saint John Learning Exchange President Kate Barnett------Photo by Dave Briggs]

The provincial government is partnering up with the Saint John Learning Exchange to provide a training program in essential workplace skills.
Over three years the province will invest $250 thousand dollars to the TIES 2 Work Program.
Post Secondary Education Minister Donald Arseneault says this program will help combat poverty by providing training needed to be employed.

Each year 24 individuals will be placed into a job after 8 weeks of essential skills training, and then a 3 week placement with a potential employer.

Province Funds Expanded Commuter Service




(Environment Minister Roland Hache presents cheque - photo by Dave Briggs)

Commuters on the outskirts of the city will soon have their own Park N Ride lots along with three new bus routes.
Transit Commission chair Councillor Chris Titus says the new lots will be located in Latimore Lake - Golden Grove - and - Lorneville.
The Transit Commission is getting 400-thousand dollars from the provincial Environment Department for the project -- the Department is estimating the expanded bus service will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost 300-tonnes each year.

Regional Cooperation High On Agenda Of Business Group Chair



The new chair of the Board of Trade says regional cooperation is a top priority in the coming year.
Kathy Craig tells CHSJ News she wants to work together with suburban chambers of commerce on a number of regional issues like air service and health care.
Craig says another priority will be to push for the twinning of highway 7 to Fredericton.
She assumed the chair from Dr Mike Barry during the Board's 190th annual general meeting today.

Province and Hardware Stores Make a Deal



You will see some new signage at your favorite hardware store in the coming days. A new deal between the Efficiency NB and home improvement stores around the Province is now official. It's an education awareness program to make people aware of Efficiency NB's residential energy efficiency programs and increase the sales of energy efficient products.

The partnership includes training sessions for store staff and bilingual point-of-purchase signage. The signage will be installed in stores over the next two weeks, and will prompt consumers to request information and advice from the store's retail staff. A total of 75 home improvement retailers are taking part.

Jet Training at CFB Gagetown



It could be quite a sight to see and will definitely be heard. CF-18 fighter jets from 3 Wing Bagotville will be flying throughout the day and night above CFB Gagetown over the next few days for training. Officials at the base say the figther jets will be flying at various altitudes today, Friday, Monday and Wednesday.

Although there will be increased noise from the jet engines, officials say this training should not pose a significant disturbance to Oromocto and the surrounding communities.

GPS for Some City Vehicles



The city is in the process of equipping the majority of its vehicles with an Automated Vehicle Location System. City manager Terry Totton says the GPS type technology will allow staff to track vehicles, while keeping and eye on their function, condition, and performance.

Council awarded the supply and support contract to the company Grey Island. Totton says the system can be used for insurance purposes and will make the job for city management much easier.

Search for Body is Called Off



The search for what someone thought was a body in the Saint John River has been called off. Grand Bay-Westfield RCMP were called to Public Landing late Monday Afternoon on reports that someone driving along the river spotted a man in the water with dark hair and a t-shirt. Sargeant Gary Fournier tells CHSJ News, they have done several grid searches up and down the waterway with the help of the City Fire Department and found nothing.

Fournier points out that at this time of the year, there is alot of debris in the water and can see how someone might mistake one thing for another. 

New Bus for the Valley



A new look is coming to the streets of the Kennebecasis Valley. $450,000 dollars is being transferred to purchase an accordion bus which bends in the middle. This new vehicle will hold 58 riders as compared to 43 in the current fleet. This is a deal between the Province, Quispamsis and Saint John Transit. Mayor Murray Driscoll tells CHSJ News, he is pleased to see the comex service being utilized to it's full capacity.

Currently, 260 people in Quispamsis use the Comex Service every day with 75 people going both ways. The town will finance the operating costs of the vehicle until December of 2013. The bus is expected to be on the road by July.

Buying Property in Quispamsis



The Town of Quispamsis is buying up property in preparation for construction of the Q-Plex. 6.45 acres has been purchased from Sandra and Thomas Jepson for $350,000 dollars and a $50,000 dollar charitable contribution receipt for municipal services. Beth Thompson they only councilor to vote against the deal, saying the price tag for the property is too high.

The Town is also writing a cheque for $45,000 dollars for the Collier Property near the Pettingal Road and Southwood Drive Intersection. There were no objections for this purchase. It is a total of 4.5 acres. 


Work Set to Get Started on Long Wharf



Expect to see some extra activity on Long Wharf over the next few months. Irving Oil will begin pre-construction work for it's proposed $30 million dollar office tower. Spokes-person Lesley Macleod tells CHSJ News, this is prep work as they continue to wait for a decision regarding the Lantic Sugar land swap deal to be signed off by Ottawa.

The work includes test piles that will be driven onsite to help determine the specific rock composition. Macleod says there will be some noise associated with the work between seven in the morning and nine in the evening. Earlier this week, city manager Terry Totten said the paperwork is nearing completion on the sale of the former Lantic Sugar site to Irving. 


Building Ablaze In St George



St George fire crews on the scene of a blaze on the Canal Road in the Charlotte County community.
The alarm came just before nine this morning -- we are told the building was engulfed in flames as fire fighters arrived.
We are also told the St George department has called for backup from neighbouring municipalities.


Preliminary Work To Start At Long Wharf



news-long wharf.jpg

(Long Wharf area where Irving Oil wants to build office complex - file photo)

The deal hasn't been officially signed off by Ottawa -- but -- it appears Irving Oil is beginning preliminary work at Long Wharf.
The company wants to build a 30-million dollar office complex on the waterfront location -- and -- is in the process of sending out letters to uptown residents advising of plans to do some work which may prove to be noisy at times.
We contacted Irving Oil -- but -- a company rep says a news release will be going out some time this morning.
Earlier this week -- city manager Terry Totten said the paperwork is nearing completion on the sale of the former Lantic Sugar site to Irving -- the company will exchange the land with the Port Authority for land needed for the office complex.

Busy Day for News Conferences



Provincial politicians will spend a good portion of the day in Greater Saint John. The first goes at ten this morning with Energy Minister Jack Keir who will announce a new partnership program involving Efficiency NB and New Brunswick home improvement retailers. Things get started at ten at Grand Bay Home Hardware. This afternoon at two, Environment Minister Roland Hache will be in East Saint John. He will be at the site of the new Saint John Transit building to make an announcement about the Climate Action Fund.

Then an hour later at three......Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault will make a training-related announcement at the Saint John Learning Exchange.

Temporary Changes in Fredericton



There is a change in the duty roster for MLA's in Fredericton. Business Minister Greg Byrne is under-going surgery soon but is in good spirits and is expected to make a full recovery. In his absence, Energy Minister Jack Keir will take over Business portfolio along with the Population Growth Secretariat, Service New Brunswick and Communications.

Education Minister Kelly Lamrock will take over his duties about the Erin Walsh case file for the Office of the Attorney General.

Latest on Plans for the Q-Plex



Town Officials and home-owners in Quispamsis continue to play the waiting game when it comes to the Q-Plex. The project is on hold until plans for the proposal get back from the architect. They were sent back last week after realizing the cost of the project is $2.7 million over budget to see if something can be adjusted with the over-all cost. Mayor Murray Driscoll strongly insists they don't want the integrity of the original design to change but realizes something will have to give.

Council has also voted Barry Brown, a certified technician with the Town, to be the project manager of the Q-plex's construction. No word on when they hope to hear back from the architect.