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Monday, June 1, 2009

Province On Board with Clean Drinking Water Project



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(Commissioner of Municipal Operations, Paul Groody Presenting to Council on Water Projects During a Meeting in May --- Photo By Diane Henry)

The provincial government has confirmed it's on board for one third of the cost of the 214 million dollar clean drinking water project and Glen Falls flood water diversion project. Mayor Ivan Court delivered the news at last night's council meeting, after speaking with provincial officials earlier in the day. This took councilor Chris Titus--who sits on the water committee--by complete surprise.

In light of the announcement, common council has decided to table the Deputy Mayor's motion to assign a city staff member to coordinate with the province and federal government on water treatment issues.  Councilor Peter McGuire says the focus right now should be squarely on getting the third piece of the puzzle. He says Saint John MP Rodney Weston should now write a cheque for the federal government's share of the funding.

Meanwhile, council will meet Tuesday morning in closed session for an update on price negotiations with large industrial water users. The Deputy Mayor has suggested this is a stumbling block in getting federal funding for clean drinking water.

Councilor Urges City to Brace for Less Money Than Expected in 2010



Councillor Gary Sullivan is asking the city to scale back its expectations for 2010 and prepare for possibly getting less money from provincial property taxes. Sullivan says uncertainty around changes to the way properties are assessed means revenue for the city will likely be capped at inflation--which is roughly 2 per cent.

Sullivan wants city administration, and all agencies boards and commissions to prepare their budget for the year based on a 2.5 per cent increase, rather than the 4.5 per cent previously stated in the 2009 operating budget. Council has tabled Sullivan's motion until a meeting with hired consultants on June 15th.

On-Street Parking Could Be On Its Way Up



Council is one step away from raising on-street parking rates and fines for the first time in five years.  If council passes third reading for changes to the traffic by-law on-street parking rates will go from $1.25 an hour to $1.50 an hour.  An expired parking meter fine will also go from ten dollars to fifteen if paid within 7 days--and--a ticket for parking in a handicap, loading or bus zone will go from 35 dollars to 50 dollars.

Councilor Chris Titus--who sits on the parking commission-- says people can expect to see more increases in the next two years.

Medical Software Expected to Increase Efficiency



The province is introducing a new software which stores health information in a single secure access portal.
Health Minister Mike Murphy announced the technology today in partnership with AnyWare Group's ROAM platform.
The software is expected to improve working conditions for health care professionals, as well as better protecting patient privacy.
The software will contain all of the provinces health information systems.

Murphy will be in Saint John tomorrow morning to make an announcement concerning cancer testings services at the Regional Hospital at 9:30.

Knowing Our Neighbours Project



Students from Rothesay Elementary School are getting a tour of Saint John tomorrow thanks to students at St. John the Baptist-King Edward School.
Pat Hartley's grade 3 class will be hosting the tour as a part of the Knowing Our Neighbours Project, and will be heading to Rothesay the following day.
Hartley tells CHSJ News, this project is a great opportunity for both sets of students to see a part of town they normally wouldn't have access to.

Both sets of students are already familiar with what they are going to be seeing in person because of a Photo Story assignment.
Each class did guided tours to prepare for their visitors, and Hartley says this is a great learning experience for both urban and rural students.

Be Safe Be Smart 2009 Tour



The interactive road safety awareness campaign Be Safe Be Smart will be making a pit stop in Saint John this week.
Along for the tour will be the D.U.M.B car, which is a driving simulator which deals with distractions, as well as bad weather and other common driving hazards.
The campaign will be coming to Simonds High on Wednesday at 10 o'clock.
For more information about the Be Safe Be Smart campaign click here.

Free Pass This Weekend



As a part of the Tourism Week celebration the provincial parks will be waiving the admission fee this Saturday.
The Department of Tourism and Parks are responsible for nine provincial parks---including Mactaquac, New River Beach, and Sugarloaf.

New Legislation Hopes to Expand Sex Offender Registry



Proposed legislation by Ottawa will hope to expand the national sex offender registry. It will also allow police to make greater use of the information in the registry. The changes will ensure that convicted sex offenders automatically go into the registry and be required to submit a DNA sample. Currently, a judge has to approve registration of a convicted offender. Saint John Police Deputy Chief Darryl Scribner says the proposed amendments will allow current resources to be applied more effectively.

Fundy Royal MP Rob Moore made the announcement and is confident the proposed legislation will be passed. The legislation will also require that people convicted of sex crimes outside the country be listed in the registry.

Tourism Week Begins Today



It's the start of Tourism Week and Saint John is the top destination for the province.
Hospitality Saint John President Wanda Hughes tells CHSJ News, the factors that make the city a great spot for visitors are often overlooked by residents.

Hughes says cruise ship visitors generate a lot of revenue for the city, and last years tourism dollars are in the $246 million dollar range----a record breaking figure.

Animals are on the Move



A reminder to be on the look-out for animals on the move. This after a vehicle hit a moose early yesterday morning along Highway One. Members of the Musquash Fire Department arrived near the Ducks Unlimited Marsh just after five o'clock to find a vehicle hit a bull moose.

They had to cut the roof off to get the driver out who was taken to the Regional to get looked over. The swamp donkey was killed.  

Announcement at the Saint John Airport



An important announcement will be made today concerning sex offenders and public safety. Fundy Royal M-P Rob Moore will be in town to make the announcement on behalf of Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan, and will be joined by Saint John M-P Rodney Weston.

Details are limited but things get underway at 10:30am at the Saint John Airport.

City Councilor Happy With Funding for Housing



City Councilor Peter McGuire says the 99 million dollar announcement from the federal and provincial governments will help get affordable housing projects moving in the city. McGuire tells CHSJ News, local government hopes to meet with Social Development Minister Mary Schryer this month to discuss changes to legislation on derelict buildings.

McGuire says he applauds Schryer, Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson and the Premier for funding low income housing projects.


Finding a Place to Store Nuclear Waste



The New Brunswick Conservation Council is urging people to voice their dis-approval to storing nuclear waste in Canada. Spokesperson Dave Thompson tells CHSJ News, the Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Agency is holding a open house about storing nuclear waste in the city this week but their plan is flawed.

Thompson says he can't say for certain there are plans to store nuclear waste in this Province but says everyone needs to reject the option regardless. The open house is scheduled for Thursday at the Delta.

Westfield Road Will Get an Update



Common Council is stepping up its commitment to improving the Westfield Road. It has approved an additional $647,500 dollars for the road in this years General Fund Capital Program and about 1.7 million has been preapproved for next year. Some of the work being planned includes an improved storm water system, new asphalt, and sidewalk construction.

The cost to reconstruct the 7.8 km stretch of road is pegged at over 18-million dollars.

City Councilor in Favor of New Policy



The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act was put into legislation by the province over the weekend and Councillor Donnie Snook is all smiles. The legislation allows citizens to submit confidential complaints about properties where illegal activities may be happening. A police officer under the SCAN Act would then investigate the complaint. Snook tells CHSJ News, other communities have had success with similar acts.

Snook says he will work towards having the city take advantage of the legistation and not have it sit on the shelf.