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Monday, July 27, 2009

Interchange Work Will Continue Despite Refinery Decision

Irving Oil's decision to shelve its proposed second refinery in Red Head won't have any impact on plans to complete the One Mile Interchange.
The 58-million dollar project will connect the throughway with Bayside Drive eliminating a lot of heavy truck traffic from city streets.
A Transportation Department spokesman says the work on the interchange was never directly linked to the refinery proposal -- and -- a second round of contracts for relocation of utilities and bridge substructure work should be awarded soon.
The interchange is scheduled for completion in 2012 -- around the same time as the Welsford Bypass portion of Route 7 now under construction.

West Side Business Group Holding Emergency Session

Tuesday night's emergency meeting of the Saint John West Business Association may prove to be lively -- the group called the meeting after common council tabled a decision on creating a Business Improvement Area and levy -- some councilors appear to be against the efforts.
Association spokesman Blaine Harris tells CHSJ News there will be copies of the B-I-A's proposed budget available.
Harris says the executive is looking for direction from business owners and the community about how to proceed given the apparent friction around the council table.
The open meeting is being held in the Community Room at Sobey's West beginning at seven.

More Security Needed At Rockwood Park

The Chair of the Rockwood Park Board of Directors says parking, more programs from Leisure Services, and increased security are the top priorities for Rockwood Park.Robert Capson says the public sees the park as unsafe because of incidents that occurred several years ago, and says city police need to have their presence known.Capson says the perception of criminal activity in the park is overblown, and it will be hard to eliminate crime in the park.
Capson says he can remember the days when an officer would travel around the park on horseback, which the tourists loved, and he would like to see happen again.He says he understands the cost of an officer on horseback would be high, and suggests maybe having officers on motorcycles or bicycles patrolling the park.

Rockwood Park Looking To Start Phase II of Development

$3.4 million dollars is the price tag for the second phase of development at Rockwood Park.The city has contributed $1 million dollars to the park in this years budget, and the Saint John Horticultural Association is handing over the $1.2 million dollars allotted to them.The Directors of the park would like to stress that so far the project has $2.2 million dollars without any debt, and has raised the issue of funding with Tourism Minister Stuart Jameison and Saint John M-P Rodney Weston.At a Committee of the Whole meeting last night, Rockwood Park officials were asking common council to either come up with some funding, or help them take their case to the federal and provincial government.

Pride Festival Week No Longer Cancelled for 2009

This year's Pride Week Celebrations have been revived. Earlier this month The Board of Directors decided to pull the plug on the festival because many events were not yet confirmed. An independent group representing the gay community, in conjunction with Element Dance Bar, has taken the festival under its wings and will hold the celebrations August 9th until August 16th.

Several events are scheduled during the week-long festival, including the Flag Raising Ceremony at City Hall and the Pride Parade. A link to the list of planned events can be online at

Economist Says Second Refinery A Good Idea in the Future

A prominent economist with the University of Alberta says now is not the time to add capacity to refining operations and Irving Oil made the right decision to halt plans for its proposed second refinery. Andre Plourde tells CHSJ News more people are buying smaller, fuel efficient and hybrid vehicles--but--adds, that doesn't mean a second refinery won't be a good idea in the future. He says for the most part those actions are short-term.

Plourde says the drop in demand for refined petroleum is cyclical in nature and in the long term there will be a return in increased demand as the economy rebounds from the recession.

Environmental Damage Being Assessed After Fuel Leak

The Department of Environment is investigating a diesel fuel leak into a waterway off Grandview Avenue near Hickey Road. The city's hazmat team was called in to clean up the spill earlier this afternoon. A dump truck overturned after colliding with a car around two o'clock spilling 200 litres of fuel---about 75 litres of which leaked into the ditch.

District Fire Chief William Johnstone tells CHSJ news crews damned the water around the spill so soil samples could be taken for analysis by the Environment Department. Both drivers were taken to hospital with unknown injuries.

Man Dies in ATV Crash

A 46 year old man is dead after an All Terrain Vehicle collision near Route 134 near Belldune. RCMP say the man from Charlo died at the scene as a result of his injuries. He lost control of the ATV while driving on a dirt road.

Hazmat Team Called to Dump Truck Crash

The city's Hazardous Materials team is on the scene of a fuel leak on Latimore Lake Road. A dump truck overturned after colliding with a car around two o'clock this afternoon and about 200 litres of fuel has already poured into a nearby waterway.

Officials with the provincial Works Department and the Department of Transportation were both called in to help stop the leak and clean it up. So far, no word on the environmental impact of the spill and if there were any injuries.

Police Seek Public Help in Locating Robber

City police are turning to the public for help finding a man they believe is responsible for at least two attempted robberies. A man described as being Caucasian, in his early to mid twenties, five-foot eight, weighing 150 pounds with a black scruffy beard tried to rob Fundy Heights Convenience Store last Friday night.

Sgt. Pat Bonner tells CHSJ news they believe the same man also tried to rob Sandy Point Grocery that night. The would-be robber was last seen wearing a brown zippered hoodie. Anyone with information is asked to contact Saint John Police. Just the night before on Thursday July 23rd, there was an attempted robbery at the Dooly's in Martinon and a robbery at the Park Plaza Motel. No word on whether they are believed to be connected.

Premier Optimistic About Energy Hub Future

Premier Shawn Graham says there are plenty of other energy-related projects going on in the province to off-set the loss of the proposed second Irving Oil refinery. Graham says the province has worked very hard to position itself as the energy hub of the Eastern Seaboard.

Graham notes successes with the natural gas plant, wind power projects, and plans for a second nuclear reactor. The private sector is currently looking for partners in the permitting process.

The premier was speaking by phone from the Southeastern United States–Canadian Provinces Alliance conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Graham says memorandum of understanding was signed today that should lead to greater opportunities in the aerospace industry. This evening, the premier will be at the Fox Harb'r Resort in Nova Scotia for a dinner and networking session hosted by former New Brunswick premier and ambassador Frank McKenna. Former U.S. president George W. Bush is said to be attending today's event.

Romero House Funding Drive Continues

Details on a plan of action for Romero House continue to be finalized. We should find out the details this week on what will be going on to raise funds for the facility now and in the future. Committee Chair Paul Zed tells CHSJ News, the amount of support they have already received is out-standing.

Zed says they are getting cheques from as far away as Moncton to ensure the facility remains open. Last week, the Graham Government kick-started the fund-raising effort with a ten thousand dollar cheque.

More Talk About Youth Home in Quispamsis

The Chief of Police with the Rothesay Regional Force has no concerns about a youth home for at risk teens opening in Quispamsis. That goes against how many home-owners in the neighbourhood feel who are concerned about their children and plummeting property values. Chief MacIntyre tells CHSJ News, the operators of the home did not have to consult with them before making their application.

Chief MacIntyre says he will treat the Youth Home just like every other home-owner that falls in their jurisdiction. The home for at risk teens is scheduled to open this fall.

Rothesay Also Reacts to Irving Oil News

Reaction continues to roll in three days after Irving Oil announced it was putting on hold it's plan for a second refinery. Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop tells CHSJ News, it would have been nice but the Town did not hitch it's wagon to this star.

Bishop adds it important the Greater Saint John Community remain optimistic with several announcements to be rolled out soon.

Grand Bay Westfield on Irving Announcment

Reaction to the news in Grand Bay-Westfield is as you would expect.......disappointment. Mayor Grace Losier tells CHSJ News, she isn't putting a lot of stock into the fact this proposal has been put on the back burner and not moth-balled.

Losier says the Town did not hitch all of their future fortune on this proposal but she is very hopeful that a second reactor at Point Lepreau can fill up space in their new sub-division.

Fire at Junkyard Last Night

Major Crime has been called after six or seven vehicles were set on fire last night. Officers and the fire department arrived at Wrecks Unlimited at 3 Cottage Road just before eleven o'clock last night. They found several vehicles lighting up the night sky and some small explosions due to the intense heat of the flames.

Nobody was hurt and police are calling the fires suspicious.

Council Also Meets at City Hall

City councilors return to city hall shortly after the presenations at the Lily Lake Pavillion. Ersnt and Young will be presenting the city's audited financial statements for last year. Up for review are the city's general fund, water and sewerage fund and the reserve and trust funds.

Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase is asking the amounts be approved by council following the presentation.

Council Meets at Rockwood Park

City councilors are changing the scenary for tonight's Committee of the Whole Meeting. At 5:30, they will gather at the Lily Lake Pavilion to receive a presentation about Rockwood Park. Chair Robert Capson will ask to consider increasing the amount of programs from Leisure Services to be held at the park. Capson will also ask for increased security at the park--due to some people thinking the trails of Rockwood are unsafe to walk or bike because of incidents such as after hours drinking, sexual misconduct and a murder two years ago.

Council will also be hear from the Saint John Horticultural Association with a few suggestions on improving Rockwood Park.