Linked Header

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Stompin' Tom Gets His Day

(Saint John native Stompin' Tom at Harbour Station Saturday night - file photo)

Stompin' Tom is getting some recognition from council -- the city has declared Saturday as the first annual Stompin' Tom day. The city native will be performing at Harbour Station on Saturday -- council drew some criticism late last month when it rejected a request to temporarily rename the pedway between Brunswick Square and City Hall Stompin' Tom way. And Mayor Ivan Court has also proclaimed August 9th through the 15th as Pride Festival week.

Council Quietly Rejects Request By Three Real Estate Agents

A bid by three real estate agents to have council reconsider the former Downey property on Crown Street for the new police station has been politely dismissed by councilors. The letter from the Remax agents suggesting the property was part of the consent agenda for last night's council meeting -- council approved that part of the agenda so the letter was received and filed. No one around the table commented on the letter.

Order of New Brunswick Recipients

The next time you see Thomas Condon remember to congratulate him on receiving the Order of New Brunswick.The former president of the University of New Brunswick Saint John campus is one of 10 recipients of the honour announced by Premier Shawn Graham.This years winners will receive the Order of New Brunswick at the Government House in Fredericton this fall, and brings the total amount of members to 78.
A complete list of winners can be found here.

Board of Trade Excited About Maine Increasing Truck Weight Restrictions

The state of Maine is considering increasing the weight restrictions on trucks travelling on Interstate 95 to 100 thousand pounds from 80 thousand.Saint John Board of Trade President Imelda Gilman says it's an exciting possibility for local companies.She tells CHSJ News, the restrictions make shipping to southern U.S. more expensive than it should be.
Gilman says currently trucks travelling from the city to the U.S. have to drive around Maine because of the weight restrictions.She says she hopes Congress puts this into effect this fall.

Mayor Court says Site Was Already Considered

[Mayor Ivan Court-----File Photo]

Mayor Ivan Court tells CHSJ News, the former Downey Motors site is not on the drawing board for proposed Police Headquarters heading North of Union.
Court says the site was already considered when the location of the new police headquarters was being decided.
Court says the city is in negotiations with the province on a co-location which will result in millions of dollars of construction cost savings.

Business Owner Weighs In on B-I-A Denial

A west side business owner says if the numbers of opposition are there, then the Business Improvement Area and Levy should be denied by common council.Colour Centre owner Dorothy Shepard tells CHSJ News, if the number of owners opposing the B-I-A is really one third of those paying into the levy, the Westside Business Association should look at another avenue.
Shepard says she is on record of opposing the levy because she would like to see exactly how the money will be spent.

She says she'd also like something more concrete which would prevent the tax from increasing significantly down the road.
Shepard says she will try and attend tonight's council meeting, where the Common Clerk is advising council to deny the proposal.

Update on Drownings

Two more drownings being reported over the weekend, this time in Cambridge Narrows and Scotchtown.RCMP responded to a call around 4:30pm at Waterside Drive in Cambridge Narrows where it appeared an elderly man had drowned.CPR was performed on the 79 year old, but he died at the scene.
Then, just before 6 o'clock on the Scotchtown Road RCMP received a call about a man struggling while swimming.CPR was performed on the 44 year old man from Stanley, but he also died before reaching the hospital.
RCMP do not suspect foul play in either of the incidents.

Minimum Wage To Increase Again Next Month

The second increase of 25 cents to minimum wage in the province is going into effect on September 1st.Back in April the first increase took place taking minimum wage from $7.75 to $8 dollars.At the $8.25 wage people working 40 hours a week are expected to earn $330 dollars a week, up from $268 in 2006.

Suggestion For Alternate Police Headquarters Site

A Saint John real estate broker says the city's proposed site for a new police headquarters poses a safety risk for pedestrians. Hodges Hamm tells CHSJ News the construction of a new building at Peel Plaza will lead to increased traffic in the area--especially if satellite police offices are closed. He says the former Downey Motors building at the corner of Crown Street and Rothesay Avenue would have easier access to major streets and the highway.
The former Downey Motors building has about 32 thousand square feet to work with and would cost 3.2 million dollars.

Two More Drownings Over the Weekend

Two more drownings are being reported over the weekend--this time in Cambridge-Narrows and Chipman. A man reportedly drowned after falling out of a boat while on the Washademoak Lake Saturday. No details on either of the incidents have been released.
A 39 year old man also drowned while swimming at Fisher Lake in Rockwood Park on Saturday. Lifeguards were able to get to the man after noticing him struggling in the water but he was pronounced dead upon arrival at the Regional Hospital. No name has been released.

Life Saving Society Warns About Water Safety

The Lifesaving Society of New Brunswick says drowning still claims almost 500 lives a year in Canada. Executive Director, Elizabeth Lamothe, says the majority of drownings in this province are related to boating and swimming in unsupervised areas. She also says natural waters like lakes and rivers provide the greatest danger because of currents.
It's still not clear what happened to the man who drowned in Rockwood Park, but Lamothe says it appears he was swimming outside of the designated and supervised swimming area.

Weather In July Broke Previous Record

If it seemed much wetter than usual last month that's because it was. Saint John beat a previous record set in 1979 for the most rainfall in the month of July. The port city received 194.7 millimetres of rain last month--beating the old record of 193.3. The normal amount of precipitation for July is only 101.5 millimetres.
Environment Canada Meteorologist, Linda Libby tells CHSJ news Saint John, Fredericton and St. Leonard all had much higher than normal amounts of rain last month. But sunshine may be on the way for this month. Libby says the short term forecast for August is looking a little drier.

Summer Theatre Festival To Get Underway

Saint John's summer theatre festival kicks off tomorrow with Theatre on the Edge. Executive Director of the Saint John Theatre Company, Stephen Tobias, tells CHSJ news they are expecting about 800 to one thousand people during the 12-day festival.

The theatre company recently completed major renovations to their new building on Princess Street, which will house the entire festival. This year's Theatre on the Edge will include "Shakespeare in the Parking Lot", dance workshops, a performance by comedienne Diane Flacks about the trials of raising children in a two-mom family, and random one-act plays.

Construction Set to Begin on Rothesay Road

Galbraith Construction crews will begin the installation of sanitary and storm sewers along Rothesay Road today. Traffic disruptions and delays are expected during the construction period which will last until November. One lane will be open with traffic moving in both directions from 7 am to 9 am but after nine in the morning and on the weekend traffic will move in the Eastern direction only. The 2.8 million dollar project will include reconstructing and paving the road and expected to be finished by November 6th.

Council to Be Updated on Flood Water Diversion Plan

Common council will receive an update on the status of the Marsh Creek Storm water Diversion project at tonight's meeting. The project has $400 thousand dollars approved in this years city budget, which will go towards designing the system that will collect excess storm water before it enters Marsh Creek and divert it to an outfall at Drury Cove.

Terrain Group will carry out the preliminary design and the cost benefit analysis on the $18 million dollar project. A public consultation will be held August 12th at Exhibition Park.

West Side Business Association Fights for Levy

The Saint John West Business Association is appealing to common council to table a staff recommendation that the West side Business Improvement Area be scrapped. In a report included in tonight's council kit, the city's common clerk is recommending council deny the proposed BIA levy. Elizabeth Gormley says after reviewing letters of objection's it turns out 34.6 per cent of non-residential users are opposed to the BIA.

Business Association Spokesperson, Blaine Harris says two of the letters received from hotels on the Golden Mile were signed by managers and not the owners. He says after contacting both owners it was clear neither objected to the proposed BIA. Harris has sent an email to councilors asking them to table the item until the Clerk can meet with the Business Association to formally review the objections together.

Real Estate Brokers Offer up Alternative Space for New Police Headquarters

Three real estate brokers are trying to get common council to consider the former Downey Motors Building as the site for the proposed police headquarters.David Maxwell, Dave O'Brien and Hodges Hamm will present the $3.2 million dollar site, which they consider a prime spot for a police headquarters because of it's access to major streets and the highway.The building on the corner of Crown Street and Rothesay Avenue is approximately $32 thousand square feet.This topic is up for discussion at tonight's council meeting getting underway at 6 o'clock in the council chambers.