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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Housing Starts Post A Gain In August

Construction of new multiple family units is helping to boost new housing starts in the Saint John area last month.

Canada Mortgage and Housing reports 37 new multiple units were started last month -- up from 16 a year ago while new single family starts dropped from 50 to 36.

Overall -- a total of 73 new units were underway last month up by just over ten percent compared to August of last year.

Fredericton is also reporting an 18-percent increase last month compared to a year ago while new housing starts in Moncton were down by almost five percent last month against August of 2008.

Irving Oil Holds Open House

By the end of the year, the Environmental Impact Assessment for a proposed second refinery should be complete. Irving Oil has put on display what has been accomplished to this point through an open house. This even after Irving Oil and British petroleum announced they were shelving the project until the market is more favourable. Kevin Scott with Irving Oil tells CHSJ News, a lot of work went into this process and when finished, options will be preserved.

Scott says there are some work-shops next month and a public meeting in November with the final report expected by the end of the year.

Conservation Council Not Impressed

One group not impressed with the process of the EIA for the proposed second refinery is the Conservation Council. Spokes-person David Thompson tells CHSJ News, they continue to look closely at the process as it unfolds.

Thompson adds the whole process quote ""doesn't have a hell of alot of substance"" as far as real public involvement in a meaningful way.

Several Communities Get a New Handle

There is a new look for eight communities around the Province. Their names have been changed to reflect both english and french. They include the Town of Grand Falls in English and Grand-Sault in French, the Town of St. Leonard Madawaska is now Saint-Léonard, Baker Brook Madawaska is now Baker-Brook and Village de Cap-Pele Westmorland is just Cap-Pelé.

The changes officially went into effect back in June.

New Look for NBCC Saint John

Expect to see a little more activity than usual at the Community College campus. The first tender for construction on the new Centre of Excellence for Energy and Construction has been awarded. Classic Construction here in Saint John will carry out the work. It is in preparation for construction of the new building and will include new parking lots and a new road along the western side of the campus, as well as upgrades to entrances on Grandview Avenue.

Construction is expected to finish up in 2011.

Princess Street poles will not come down this fall

Work on the reconstruction of Princess Street is nearly complete with crews working on the top block between Charlotte and Germain Street.

One goal of the project was to bury the power lines so the electrical poles can be removed and that will be not be happening this fall.

City of Saint John spokesperson Leah Fitzgerald says the poles will remain up until next spring. Fitzgerald says a big part of the project is now waiting for Saint John Energy, Aliant and Rogers to move their customers to underground wiring.

Most of the project will be complete by the end of October.

Construction on Long Wharf

(Proposed Irving Oil office complex on Long Wharf - photo courtesy Irving Oil)
There is still no deal in place but pre-construction work for Irving Oil's new headquarters on Long Wharf is moving ahead. The company has confirmed it resumed work today after site development took place earlier this year. The work over the next two months includes driving foundation piles into the proposed building footprint and the installation of over 300 steel beams driven into the site’s sub-surfaces.

There will be no construction activity on the site when cruise ships are berthed at Long Wharf. Irving Oil is still awaiting approval of the building through the municipal re-zoning application or the Federal Minister’s approval of the 99 year lease and land agreement

Court Date Looming

With no new talks scheduled, it looks like the next face to face meeting between the Provincial Health Department and Medical Society will be in a court room. The Province is being asked to honor the tentative agreement from December of last year and provincial officials responded to the original legal application by introducing legislation to block it. Health Minister Mary Schryer tells CHSJ News, a court battle will produce no benefits for either side.

A court case is scheduled toget started on Wednesday of next week.

Tragedy Near Head Harbour Lighthouse

Tragedy for a couple from the United States yesterday after an incident near the Head Harbour Lighthouse yesterday. RCMP arrived to find a man and a woman who were pulled from the water near the lighthouse and the 62-year old man died a short time later in hospital. Officers say the couple crossed from Campobello Island on foot at low tide to the Head Harbour Lighthouse, not aware that the tide was beginning to rise.

When they left, the walkway was submerged. While trying to get back, the man fell and was swept away by the tide. A nearby boater grabbed both and brought them to shore.

Two Year Old Hit in Harvey

A two year old boy is being treated at the IWK Hospital after being hit by a vehicle over the Long Weekend. RCMP tell us they were called to Harvey late in the afternoon Monday to find the toddler.

His injuries are listed as serious and no word on whether charges will be laid.

Energy Minister Says Nova Scotia's Tidal Power Decisions Have No Impact on NB

(Energy Minister Jack Keir - file photo)

Energy Minister Jack Keir says Nova Scotia's decision on whether it will okay more development in tidal power generation will have no bearing on New Brunswick. An announcement between Ottawa and Nova Scotia is expected as early as this week on whether three companies will be approved to place turbines in the Bay of Fundy. Keir tells CHSJ news there would be no competition between the provinces.

Irving Oil and Huntsman Marine Science Centre are collecting data on how much energy can be generated in the Bay and what type of equipment should be used. Keir says it will be more than a year before that data is collected.

Quispamsis Residents Receive Approval to Appeal Youth Home

Quispamsis residents who oppose a youth home for at risk teens in their neighbourhood will have an opportunity to appeal the town's approval. Donna Higgins tells CHSJ news her notice to appeal has been granted. The youth home proposal was approved by the Planning Advisory Committee which felt there was no need for public input on the matter. Residents disagree.

Higgins says the town is being sneaky and dirty about the entire process. Moncton Youth Services took over the property at 186 Vincent Road in July.

More Gridlock For Morning Commute

[Highway Grid-Lock on the Mckay]
Photo by Bobbi-Lee-Betteridge

The old saying is ""Speed Kills"" and if vehicles along the McKay Highway don't slow down, RCMP are concerned that will become reality. For the second time in as any days, several vehicles were involved in a wreck near the Fox Farm Road. Sargeant Steve Gordeau with Hampton RCMP tells CHSJ News, there is alot of traffic on that highway but that is no excuse.

Sargeant Gordeau adds three things are to blame for these accidents......speed, bad lane changing and tail-gating. Two drivers involved in today's four vehicle crash were issued tickets for tailgating.