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Monday, May 25, 2009

Negotiations Drag On for Industrial Water Rates



Mayor Ivan Court says he expects rate negotiations with a handful of major industrial water users will be resolved by year's end.  But Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase says in the meantime, the unresolved issue is hurting the city's chances for getting provincial and federal funding for clean drinking water projects. Court says he disagrees.

The city manager has been asked to report back to common council in early June with some recommendations or agreements for resolving the industrial water rates.  Consultant Touchie Engineering said last year that Irving Oil is due for a rate increase of 57.7 per cent, while Irving Pulp and Paper should pay 24.3 per cent more this year.

Experts Look at Ways to Make Clean Drinking Water Affordable



The city's Commissioner of Municipal Operations says city staff and hired consultants are doing everything they can to make clean, safe drinking water an affordable reality for Saint John. Paul Groody says this is the biggest project the city has ever taken on and having the right resources and staff is crucial to maintaining costs.

Groody says there are at least six projects--totaling nearly 24 million dollars--that are ready to be started and could be finished by March 2011. They include transmission mains throughout the city and a district water metering program. Mayor Ivan Court says work will continue with --or without--federal and provincial funding.

City Council Aims for More Efficient Meetings



City council is taking action to make their regular meetings more efficient. Council has accepted 12 recommendations by the common clerk for improving the efficiency of open council meetings. Some of the recommendations include limiting debate times by sticking to the 3-minute rule and banning councilors from reading the entire text explaining their motions when it's already in the council kit. Councilor Gary Sullivan says the trick will be following the adopted recommendations.

One item of contention is the recommendation that the common clerk schedule a review of the committee system form of governance. Some councilors say that doesn't fit with the others and they aren't prepared to take another look at that style of government.  Five councilors voted against the recommendations.

City Seeking Input from Staff on Cost Saving Tips



The city will soon be picking the brains of its employees to get their ideas for making city hall more efficient. Councilors Patty Higgins, Bill Farren, and Joe Mott will form a committee to develop an efficiency questionnaire for staff.

Higgins says they may have some good ideas for balancing the city's budget.


Blaney Reaction to Protest



Rothesay M-L-A Margaret Ann Blaney says it's impressive the amount of protest young people are putting into the changes to driving regulations.

Blaney says congregating online for discussion may be the future of debate, rather than face to face.
She says government should have consulted with young people before changing the rules, and at least hold off legislation before they have a chance to have their concerns heard.


Protest Over Driving Regulations



Protesters organized outside of Service New Brunswick to voice concerns over changes to drivers rules taking place starting next month.
Several changes include people under 21 cannot drive between midnight and 5am, and how many people can be in the vehicle.
Protester Lindsay Cole says the new regulations are not fair

Cole says the small number of protesters who showed up is not at par with those who oppose the changes.
Cole says there are hundreds of people online who are not happy with the new rules.

Green Ashpalt Technology



The Transportation Department is using a greener method when paving roads in the province.
The department will begin using a warm mix asphalt that requires less heat to produce, which decreases the carbon footprint.
Using less heat means less energy is used to mix the asphalt, decreasing the fuel consumption, and green house gas emissions.
In the city, the warm asphalt mix will be used on two kilometres of Route 111 leading to the Loch Lomond Road.
In tests the mix proves to be just as durable as traditional ones.

Health Department Reminder on Fiddleheads



It's the time of year when many dinner tables will have a Maritime favourite on the plates---and the Health Department is issuing a warning to be careful.
The reminder is to thoroughly wash and cook fiddleheads to prevent a temporary illness.
Health Canada says to boil fiddlheads for about 15 minutes, or steam for 12.
The reason for getting sick from undercooked fiddleheads is still not known, but is suspected to be a natural toxin.

KV Team Moves Closer to Reaching to the Top



The KV Team competing at this years Reach for the Top Tournament is moving on to the finals.
Teacher and coach Jason Thorne tells CHSJ News, the semi final match against Cobequid, Nova Scotia was a nail biter.

Thorne says his team had to comeback from a 70 point deficit, and a protest from the opposing team resulted in the final results not being known until about 40 minutes after the final question was asked.
The KV Team are heading to the finals this afternoon.

Boat Stolen



The boating season is just underway and someone has already had their vessel stolen. A 12-foot Suzuki Chesnut aluminum boat was stolen from a property in Apohaqui over the weekend. The boat was tied up at the edge of the river. Officers remind everyone who owns a boat to record the serial numbers and vessel identification of their boat and motor.

This will speed up the process in identifying any property officer's believe has been stolen.

Armed Robbery in French Village



A follow up to a robbery in Rothesay last week. Still no arrests after the Petro-can in French Village was held up just before closing last Thursday. It was just before eleven o'clock that a man walked into the store with a weapon, grabbed cash and cigarettes and ran off.

The two girls working were shaken up but not hurt. Rothesay Regional Police tell us they continue to work on a few angles as they and bring a suspect into custody.

KV Still Reaching for the Top



The KV team competition at this years Reach for the Top Tournament has a tough test this afternoon. They will take on a school from Cobequid, Nova Scotia with a berth in tomorrow's final on the line. Jason Thorne is teacher and coach and tells CHSJ News, a third straight trip to the semi-final is a true testament to the dedication of the students.

Thorne points out that Cobequid beat them in the round robin but they hope to prey on the team's inconsistency to try and pull out a win.


Proposed Changes for the Uptown



Wouldn't it be nice to be able to shop in the uptown during days almost everyone has off from work? The President of Uptown Saint John Sean O'Neil thinks so and is requesting city council pass a by-law allowing uptown businesses to remain open on Canada Day, and New Brunswick Day.

Also on the agenda, is the proposal to accept the bid from ICR General Contractors to renovate the washrooms at the city market. Money from the  Facilities Management Capital Budget will pay the price tag. If ICR is awarded the job, it will cost nearly $65 thousand dollars. Both topics are up for discussion at tonight's council meeting getting started a 5 o'clock in the council chambers.

Peel Plaza Making Progress



Most of 105 Union Street is no longer there. Only one wall is left of the former day-care as the city brought in the heavy equipment to bring it down over the weekend. It has been cleared to make way for the new look for that area of the metro which includes a new Justice Complex, Police Headquarters and parking garage. Bill Edwards is in charge of the project and tells CHSJ News, from his perspective......this proposal is right on schedule.

Edwards says whats left of 105 Union should be gone before the end of the week. The plan is to start construction of the Justice Complex, parking garage and police headquarters in October. 


Quality of Life Meeting Tonight



Pierre Doucette, project manager with the Department of the Environment will be the guest speaker at a meeting tonight. It's being put on by the Quality of Life Initiative as they continue to monitor activity by Corridor Resources. The company wants to drill into salt beds, flush them out and make caverns to store natural gas to pipe in through the Penbsquis field and onto the United States. Spokes-person Otty Forgrave tells CHSJ News, things are on hold for the time being.

Forgrave says Doucette will outline the requirements a company has to go through to get another permit to extend their expiration rights for an area to do any mining or storing natural gases. Tonight's meeting gets started at 7:30pm at the Upham Rec Center.  

Power Out for Close to Two Hundred



Still no progress being made on a power outage in Rothesay this morning. NB Power is dealing with a problem at one of it's sub-stations but no word on what the trouble is. 262 customers are off the grid including 180 in the Rothesay area. That covers a portion of Quispamsis, the Kingston Peninsula and can even stretch into Hampton.

NB Power tells us they don't know specifically what the problem is but they were hoping to have the problem fixed by 6:30am.

Fire Near Plaster Rock



A fire over the weekend destroyed a home in McLaughlin, which is just west of Plaster Rock. Fire crews were called to the house on the Bedford Road yesterday morning at three. Two adults and a 15-year old escaped the flames with no injuries.

No word yet on how the fire started and the three people who were living in the house are staying with family.

Crusaders Continue to Reach for the Top



For a third straight year, KVHS has reached the semi-finals of the Reach for the Top Competition. They did so by beating a school from Edmonton yesterday, answering the final two questions to end the game with a thirty point victory.

KV will now face a team from Cobequid, Nova Scotia today with the winner moving on the to the final on Tuesday. The Crusaders finished last year's competition in third and 2nd in 2007. 

Students Not Happy About Move



A grade 12 student from Chipman Forest Avenue School is voicing his concern about the upcoming budget cuts from the Department of Education. Brad Perry is the President of the Student Representative Council and tells CHSJ News, he's organized a petition to present to the government.

The New Brunswick Advisory Council on Youth is on the chopping block for June the 2nd, and Perry says eliminating this program will silence students. The petition can be found on our website, at

Protest This Afternoon Against New Driving Rules



New rules that come into effect June.1st for drivers under the age of 21 are facing some opposition. Melissa O'Rourke of Quispamsis fronts a facebook group which has collected over six thousand signatures in this half of the Province who are upset. She tells CHSJ News, they don't disagree with all of them but a lack of consultation certainly didn't help the matter.

O'Rourke says province-wide, they have collected over ten thousand signatures and have several rallies, including one in Kings Square this afternoon at four o'clock.

Q-Plex Numbers Look Good



The hard numbers have yet to be ironed out but officials in Quispamsis are confident the tax rate will not jump more than three cents with construction of the Q-Plex. The $22 million dollar proposal is still in a holding pattern waiting for a tender to be awarded for the construction phase. Officials indicate they can finance this project on their own because of huge growth in the population last year in recent years. As for whether Rothesay wants to come on board, Mayor Murray Driscoll tells CHSJ News, their offer stands.

The facility will sport an annual operating cost of one million dollars with a yearly deficit of $400,000 dollars but is expected to bring in $600,000 dollars in annual revenue.

Road A New Dawning For Town



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(Mayor Grace Losier - photo courtesy Town of Grand Bay-Westfield)

Grand Bay-Westfield Mayor Grace Losier says a new 5-million dollar collector road is a shot in the arm for her community.
The federal and provincial governments are funding the highway which will run from the Highland Road overpass on highway 7 to the center of the town opening up a large tract of land for development.
Losier says about 400-acres have been sitting idle because of a lack of access -- she expects landowners to come to council soon with development proposals.
The mayor says the town also has some other irons in the fire -- construction on the new road will begin this year with completion set for later next year.