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Monday, September 28, 2009

Harper Adresses the Economy

Pleased with the progress it is making, the Harper Government plans to continue it's current course when it comes to stimulating the economy. Prime Minister Harper was in Saint John today to deliver the third report on his parties economic plan. Harper says 90 per cent of the plan to stimulate the economy for this fiscal year has been committed.

Harper says we are not out of the woods yet and it's vital to keep his parties economic action plan moving ahead. Harper adds trying to force an election during these economic times is both reckeless and irresponsible. The Liberals plan to introduce a non-confidence vote later this week in the House of Commons.

Harper on Point Lepreau

Prime Minister Harper has adressed the growing problem that is the refit at Point Lepreau. Now that we know it is 18 months behind schedule, provincial politicians want to know if the hard thumb will be applied to Atomic Energy of Canada Limted by Ottawa. Harper says Ottawa, like this province, is also on the economic hook for every day the project is delayed.

Harper adds the contract in place imposes several obligations on the Federal Government and they will respect them.

Federation President Wants Reserve Camps Run by the Province

The President of the New Brunswick Wildlife Federation is speaking out in support of the 22 Crown Reserve Camps in the Province. The camps allow New Brunswick anglers the chance through a draw to fish on the Restigouche and Miramichi Rivers where a lot of the best spots are owned by the rich.

Roland Michaud tells CHSJ news the government is considering handing over responsiblity to a non-government agency. Michaud says the sportsmen of New Brunswick will not let the government pass off the responsibility of running the camps to another agency, they want the province to continue to maintain them.

Michaud adds they would also like government to make a committment in the future to fix up some of the camps and their access roads.

Update on Provincial Climate Change Plan Released

The provincial environment minister has released a progress report on the five-year climate change action plan released in 2007.

Rick Miles says 90 per of the actions highlighted in the plan have been started or completed.

The goal of the plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.5 megatonnes a year by 2012. Along with federal initiatitives, provincial emissions will be reduced to 1990 levels in the same year and below that by 2020.

The update cited the Mayors Eco-Challenge and the Climate Change Youth Engagement Network as some of the successful public initiatitives.

Local MLA Miffed with Prime Minister's Snub

Lancaster MLA Abel LeBlanc is miffed he was not invited to the Prime Minister's announcement this afternoon in his riding on the West Side. LeBlanc tells CHSJ news he was told he would be on the guest list, but when he showed up this morning to enter the NB Southern Railway Mechanical Shop on Gifford Street he was denied access.

LeBlanc says he wouldn't go to the announcement now even if he was formally invited.

Public Hearing Tonight for Long Wharf Proposal

Irving Oil's office complex proposal for Long Wharf will undergo public scrutiny at tonight's common council meeting. A public hearing will be held regarding staff recommendations that a waterfront district be established --and--that Irving Oil be allowed to place 3 acres of land within the new designation. The company wants to build a four-storey office complex and cruise ship terminal.
The Planning Advisory Committee has accepted staff's recommendation but is asking common council will give extra consideration to a couple of key unresolved issues: such as fishing boats that currently dock at Long Wharf and Harbour Clean up.

Tourism Minister Travels to Promote Travel

The provincial Tourism Minister is heading South of the border next week to promote the cruise ship industry and encourage travel journalism in our area. Stuart Jamieson tells CHSJ news he will meet with the Canadian Tourism Commission as well as host luncheons with a number of travel agents and travel journalists during a stopover in New York.

Jamieson will then travel to Miami for meetings with key cruise lines. There he will be joined by Betty MacMillan with the Saint John Port Authourity. In 2008 a record 184 thousand cruise ship passengers visited Saint John. The economic spinoffs for Greater Saint John are estimated at 20 million dollars.

City Council Considers Land Sales for Watershed Protection

The city's commissioner of planning is suggesting common council support the sale or exchange of watershed land that lies outside watershed limits. Ken Forrest tells CHSJ news council should adopt such a policy so the city can trade or buy more land within the watershed limits for long term protection.

Forrest says non-watershed portions of land currently owned by the city may front on a road and could be subdivided and developed. He also says there are some property owners who would exchange valuable land within the watershed for land outside the designation in order to avoid restrictions. Common council will consider the recommendation during tonights open meeting at city hall.

Wildlife Federation Opposes Changse to Crown Reserve Camps

The New Brunswick Wildlife Federation is urging the Department of Natural Resources not to abandon the operation and maintenance of Crown Reserve Camps as a core function. President, Roland Michaud has sent a letter to Minister Wally Stiles objecting to the idea-- calling it a poorly conceived initiative.
Michaud says the crown reserve system gives ordinary resident anglers first class angling opportunities in light of the fact government has leased the better water to clubs and those with higher means. The province is considering turning over the responsibility to a non-governmental agency. He says abandoning the long-standing service is simply unacceptable.

East Point Gets A New Bank

The East Point Shopping Complex off Westmorland Road continues to get crowded. The company has announced TD Canada Trust has begun construction on a new branch high atop the hill in East Saint John. It is on Retail Drive next to the Costco store, which is also under construction.

The full service bank is expected to be open by March of next year. The new Costco store is also scheduled to be open for business in the spring.

Local MLA Comments on Conservative Convention

David Alward will be the next Premier of the Province. That from Saint John Portland MLA Trevor Holder reflecting on the parties policy convention over the weekend. Holder tells CHSJ News, the Graham Government has taken the Province in a direction that most people are not comfortable with.

Holder says the timing of the convention couldn't have been better with a provincial election scheduled for next fall, the party can lock up it's platform and give voters time to look it over and make up their minds.

Prime Minister To Visit Saint John--Update

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will deliver his government's latest economic update during a stop in Saint John today. Harper is holding a photo opportunity before making his announcement at 12:30 at the NB Southern Railway Mechanical Shop on Gifford Street.
Transport Minister John Baird says the prime minister will lay out what the government has done to stimulate the economy. He says today's report will show great progress since the last update in June. Liberal finance critic John McCallum says it really doesn't matter what's in the economic statement. He says the Liberals have made their decision -- they're voting against the government.

Apartment Fire

Three people are temporarily homeless after a high rise apartment building went up in flames last night. The large building on Brunswick Drive caught fire around supper time, leading to an evacuation for about an hour.

The Canadian Red Cross has arranged emergency accommodations, meals, and clothing for the two women and one man who have been left without a home. No one was hurt and the cause is still under investigation.

City Hall Communication Problems

When it comes to communicating with the public, city hall needs find ways to improve. Councillor Bill Farren says he thought the issue would be fixed after the concerns heard during last year's Ward Meetings. Mayor Ivan Court tells CHSJ News, residents are even in the dark about city hall accomplishments.

Court says people are often unaware what their tax dollars are paying for, and a communications plan needs to be implemented at city hall to help ease the concerns of residents.

Harbour Clean Up Costs Rising

Updated cost estimates of the Harbour Clean Up project are projecting an additional $19 million dollars is needed. The acting city manager is submitting a report to Common Council concerning the additional costs, which explains the original $79 million dollar price tag was based on study estimates.

Common Council is being asked to endorse the report, and to send a letter to the federal government signed by the mayor requesting an additional $2.5 million dollars of funding. This topic will be up for discussion at tonight's council meeting getting started at twenty after six in the council chambers.

Provincial Opposition Leader Worried About Point Lepreau

Conservative Leader David Alward wasn't at a loss for words when asked about the latest numbers from the refit schedule at Point Lepreau. It's 18 months behind schedule and isn't expected to go back on line until February 2011. Alward tells CHSJ News, this is news that should concerns all tax-payers.

Alward says Energy Minister Jack Keir has a responsibility to manage his files and it's un-acceptable he tried to distance himself from it by saying he asked for answers and couldn't get any.

Local Doctor Considers Politics

A man who has held the lives of thousands of people literally in the palm of his hands is now considering a run at Provincial Politics. Dr. Jim Parrot showed up at the Conservative Policy Convention in Moncton over the weekend and tells CHSJ News, he has been retired for two years now and has been contemplating his future.

Parrot made an unsuccessful run for the Federal Conservative nomination a few years ago and says if he makes another attempt, there is a bigger job to be done around the Province.