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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Quispamsis Mayor Says No Discussion On Increasing Tourism Dollars

The Mayor of Quispamsis says if the mayor of Saint John wants the town to kick in more money towards tourism, maybe he should try asking.Murray Driscoll is responding to Mayor Ivan Court saying areas in Greater Saint John need to put more than 25 hundred dollars each into promoting tourism in the area.
Driscoll says the town has not been approached to increase it's funding, and will continue to make the contribution that is asked for.
Driscoll tells CHSJ News, Quispamsis isn't exactly a high profile tourist spot, but when the Q-Plex opens it's doors, it will be a significant contribution to tourism in the region.

Fall Election Speculation Ramping Up

Whether you want it or not.....speculation is growing stronger we could have a fall federal election. Word out of a Liberal caucus meeting in Sudbury today says leader Michael Ignatieff says his party won't vote to prop up the minority Harper government anymore. Former Saint John MP Paul Zed tells CHSJ News, the Liberals have been trying to make Parliment work over the past month.

The Liberals get their first opportunity to present a motion of non-confidence the first week of next month but at the party caucus meeting in Sudbury today, Ignatieff isn't saying if he'll do that.

Federal Minister Talks of Atlantic Gateway Potential

[Mayor Ivan Court; Imelda Gilman, President of the Board of Trade; Peter MacKay, Minister of the Atlantic Gateway; Saint John MP Rodney Weston-- Photo By Diane Henry]

The federal Minister for the Atlantic Gateway is reinforcing New Brunswick's importance in the future of international trade as well as the generation and sale of energy. Peter MacKay says Saint John is central to the Atlantic gateway bringing business from the biggest and best companies in the world.

Meanwhile, MacKay won't say if federal money is on the way for the Saint John Airport through the Atlantic Gateway Fund. He tells CHSJ news they will determine the funding priorities after they have received all of the applications. MacKay was speaking at a Board of Trade luncheon today at the Delta.

UNBSJ on Recruitment

Toronto University Professor David Foot says universities in Atlantic Canada should stick with international recruitment and shelve expansion plans as enrollment numbers dwindle. UNBSJ Acting Registrar John Johnson tells CHSJ News expansion plans and international recruitment work together in maintaining a quality experience in learning and teaching.

He says Universities have to put their resources into making the experience great for a student from China or from Saint John but, no institution can grow forever. Johnson says cost is one factor that affects enrollment in university, the others being the availability and types of programs as well as how well the local economy is performing.

Working Under the Lights

If you've noticed that a section of the west-bound lanes of Highway One have been torn up but you don't see any work crews, there is a good reason for that. They are doing their work during the evening and over-night hours. Matt Frye with the Department of Transportation tells CHSJ News, crews are setting up the light standards late in the afternoon and working from six pm until six the following morning.

Frye says there are many benefits to this new shift including safety and of course, less traffic means crews can get more work done. The re-paving is expected to take three weeks and the work will go right to the Somerset Street intersection near the new Chateau Saint John hotel.

Prostitution Charges Laid in Moncton

Seven men are facing prostitution related charges after they allegedly approached an undercover woman police officer in Moncton. Codiac Regional RCMP say arrests were made on Dufferin, Highfield, Cameron and St. George Streets.

The men are from Ontario, Shediac and Moncton--and--are between the ages of 27 and 65.They are scheduled to appear in Moncton Provincial Court on October 26th answer to the charges.

Minimum Wage Increases by 25 Cents

The minimum wage has increased by 25 cents an hour today. This is the second increase since April, bringing the provincial minimum wage to $8.25 per hour. That translates to an employee working 40 hours per week earning a minimum of 330 dollars--versus the 268 dollars he or she would have earned in October 2006.

Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault says it's important to give people a better standard of living. New Brunswick now has the second lowest minimum wage in the country---above PEI which is $8.20 an hour.

City Hustles to Get Water Projects Done on Time

The question remains---can city staff complete the work on the six water treatment projects before the March 2011 deadline. Brent McGovern with Saint John Water says it can be done, and that two projects are almost complete in design and are ready to go to tender. Commissioner of Muncipal Operations Paul Groody says it's going to be tight, but it can be done.

Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase wants to know if grouping the projects together would save the city money rather than each project going to tender separately.Groody says each project requires specific preparations, so they need to go to tender separately.

Peel Plaza Street Upgrades Approved

Common Council is approving city staff to proceed with putting out the tenders for upgrading work around the proposed Peel Plaza development. Under the revised funding report nearly $2.9 million dollars will come from the General Fund Capital, and an additional $1 million will come from the Water and Sewerage Utility Fund Capital project.Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase wants to know where the additional money is coming from, and what projects are going to be dropped.Commissioner of Municipal Operations Paul Groody says no projects will be dropped, the scope of the project has been expanded, and this is the cost.

Councilor Bill Farren says the upgrading work on Union Street to Wellington street is necessary even if the Peel Plaza project doesn't go forward.

City Council Has Questions About Tourism Proposal

Councilor Bruce Court says he cannot support the Destination Marketing Organization because come budget time, tourism may be an area that gets cut back.

Court says another reason he cannot support the idea is because of the pension deficit. He says eliminating an entire department where employees pay into the pension fund doesn't make sense with the shape it's in. The proposal has been referred to the city manager.

Mayor Not Supporting Tourism Proposal

Mayor Ivan Court is calling out to surrounding municipalities regarding this tourism proposal. Under the proposed singular group the city is asked to invest over a million dollars, while Grand Bay Westfield, Hampton, St. Martins, Rothesay, and Quispamsis are all asked to invest 25 hundred dollars. The city is also asked to give an additional 2.5 per cent on top of the original one million dollar investment, while the combined total from the Greater Saint John region is only 12 thousand-five hundred dollars. Court says other municipalities need to step up to the plate.

Court says our tax payers are asked to carry the region, and we are being asked to do everything for everyone, whether they work, live or play here. He says it's time for everyone to start doing their part.

City to Consider One Tourism Entity

The Saint John Destination Marketing Organization is asking common council to consider establishing a singular entity to handle all things tourism. Spokesperson, Gail Bremner is suggesting the city get involved in a 5 year service agreement, which will mean increasing it's funding by 2.5 per cent. Bremner says the D-M-O will absorb the city's tourism department.

Bremner says this organization will give Saint John a distinct voice in regards to tourism, which is needed with Fredericton building a new convention centre, and Moncton getting a casino.

Airport Turned Down for Federal Funding

It's proving to be a challenge to find a source of funding for proposed improvements to the Saint John Airport. Bernie Leblanc, President and CEO of Saint John Airport Inc., says they recently learned they are not eligible for the Building Canada Fund because they are located on government-owned land.But, Leblanc says there is a glimmer of hope. Transport Canada has suggested the Atlantic Gateway Funding might fit for this project.

The funding will be used for a project which includes expanding and relocating the parking lot and the expansion of the terminal building because of increased traffic at the airport.

Grand Old ANE Returns to Saint John

It might not be as big as it once was but the Midway is back for another year in East Saint John. The Atlantic National Exhibition opens today and runs through til Friday. Blair MacDonald is the General Manager of the Exhibition Association and tells CHSJ News, there is plenty for everyone to see and do.

MacDonald admits they could use some more space and now that the issue surrounding harness racing has been settled, they are exploring all of their options. The fireworks go tonight to kick off the four-day event.