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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Brunswick Pipeline Plans Maintainence Work tomorrow

Brunswick Pipepline will be conducting maintainence work on the Red Head Meter Station tomorrow.

An eight-hour shutdown is planned in conjuction with Canaport LNG.
The work involves replacing several peices which may result in residents detecting a rotten egg smell. To minimize to odour release, a flare stack will be used to burn off the gas which may be visible to nearby residents.
Engineers will conduct the work and the Saint John Fire Department will be notified.
Officials at Brunswick Pipeline say there is no need for staff or the public to be concerned.
The work gets started at 1pm tomorrow afternoon.
Residents with questions can contact Brunswick Pipeline at 1-888-410-2220.

Response to Mental Health Report

There are some changes coming to the delivery of mental health in this Province. The Department of Health is out with it's response to the Mental Health Task Force Report. They include an increase to operation funding provided to 26 community-based mental-health activity centres by close to $200,000 starting this fiscal year. The Department of Health has also taken steps to improve integration among key provincial departments including itself, Social Development, Public Safety, Education and Justice and Consumer Affairs.

Also, a new mental-health strategy will be developed and finalized in the spring. The task force began it's work back in May of 08 and released it's report back in February.

Key Industries Fund-Raiser

Key Industries is half way home to reaching it's fund-raising goal. The effort is to reach $1.2 million dollars to go towards expenditures at their new facility on Charlotte Street. Rod Belyea is chair of the board and tells CHSJ News, they are very confident they can reach it's goal.

The campaign has already received $600,000 dollars in pledges with $150,000 dollars from City Hall alone.

NB Coal Limited will close in December

NB Power has announced it will close the Grand Lake generating station next June and since it's only customer is closing its doors, NB Coal Limited will close this December.

NB Power President David Hay says the Grand Lake Generating Station is an aging facility with many environmental and economic challenges.  He says due to the nature of the coal mined in the area combined with pending environmental regulations make
it too expensive to continue operation.
Since 2000, the Grand Lake generating station has been it's only customer. Hay says NB Power will work with the community during this transition. The Grand Lake generating station was built in 1931 and was NB Power's first thermal plant. It was built to serve Fredericton and the cotton mill in Marysville.

MLA to Hold Meeting on Highway Brush Cutting

Oromocto-Gagetown MLA Jack Carr is hoping to get community support for Roadside Brush Cutting Services. He is holding a meeting tomorrow night in Fredericton Junction to organize volunteers who want to cut brush, seek provincial and federal grants, and help lobby the provincial government for more funding.

Carr says if residents want, he will help them set up a non-profit organization. Premier Graham cut one-third of the roadside brush cutting budget in last year's provincial budget. The Deparment of Transportation spends 600 thousand dollars yearly for the entire province.

Moose Lady Refuses to Work with Tory MLA

(File Photo--Kathy MacCullum receiving Merit Award from MLA Jack Keir for fighting to get moose fencing)

Kathy MacCullum with Mothers for Safer Highways has decided not to work with Tory MLA Jack Carr on reducing brush along provincial highways. MacCullum is well known for lobbying the provincial government to get moose fencing along Highway 7. She was unsuccessful with the Tory government and it was the Graham Liberals that agreed to install the wildlife fencing.

MacCullum says she supports any efforts to make highways safer, but will not work with the Conservatives on the initiative.

Quispamsis Blaze Sends Fire Fighter to Hospital

One KV fire fighter taken to hospital this morning for heat exhaustion after battling a blaze at 104 Hampton Road. Crews arrived around 5:30 this morning to find the living room of the home up in flames. Officials tell CHSJ news the fire was contained to the front room and attic area and was quickly extinguished. Two people and their pets were able to get out safely.

So far no word on the cause.

Cause of Apartment Fire Determined

Fire officials are blaming plastic dishes left in an oven for causing a fire at an apartment building on Brunwick Drive Sunday afternoon. The building was evacuated for about an hour and three people were left temporarily homeless after the oven caught fire and set off the sprinkler system. Water damage in the basement forced two women and one man out of their home.

Officials say the homeowner left plastic dishes in the oven and forgot to remove them before turning on the oven to heat it up.

City Comes up with Funding for Harbour Clean Up

The Muncipal Operations Commissioner is outlining the four components for coming up with the additional $19 million dollars needed for the Harbour Clean Up. Paul Groody says city staff has found a way to reduce the overall cost through value engineering exercises.

Groody says the money the province has already invested is accumulating interest, which will go towards the project. He says the city will invest $2.5 million dollars and will be asking the federal government to match the investment. The 2010 gas tax funding will also be used on Harbour Clean Up rather than on safe, clean drinking water because those projects are related to the recently approved six stimulus projects. Groody says the rest of the money will come from the utility's future capital funding.

City Councilor Wants Greater Accuracy on Project Costs

After learning the Harbour Clean Up project is going to be $19 million dollars over the original estimate, Councilor Carl Killen wants to know if there is a way to prevent cost over-runs in the future. Killen says it appears there are four levels of determining what something will cost---study, conceptual, preliminary and detailed design but wants to know if there is a way for a study level estimate to be closer to the actual cost.

Muncipal Operations Commissioner Paul Groody says the issue is that sometimes when an original estimate is determined it can take several years until the project actually gets underway causing costs to increase.

Apartment Complex Denied

Mel Clark's plan to have a 3 unit apartment building at 1161 Westfield is not going to happen. Common Council is acting on a recommendation by the Planning Advisory Committee to deny the request for special zoning at the location. Clark's request is to mix a light industrial zone with residential units.

Clark says it would be for single tradespeople looking for a cheap place to stay. Council determined the safety risks were too high to approve the request.

Tourism Excellence Award Finalists

Five contributors to the tourism industry in Greater Saint John are among the 13 provincial finalists for national awards in tourism excellence. Pacrim Hospitality Services Inc, which owns Hampton Inn Saint John, is up for the Business of the Year Award; the Saint John Port Authority is in the running for Corporate Partner of the Year; and general manager of the Fundy Trail Parkway, Brian Clark, is vying for Volunteer of the Year.

Also, Seascape Kayak Tours on Deer Island is in the running for Parks Canada Sustainable Tourism Award and My Trip Planner by T4G Ltd. and New Brunswick Tourism and Parks are up for the Online Innovation Award. The awards will be presented at a gala dinner in November during Canada's Tourism Leadership Summit being held in Saint John.

City Approves Waterfront District and Long Wharf Office Complex

(File Photo)

Common Council has passed an amendment to allow the development of Irving Oil's headquarters on Long Wharf as apart of a new waterfront district. The International Longshoreman's Association Business Agent Pat Riley says he takes issue with that because the size of the site hasn't even been determined yet.

Riley says the city shouldn't accept the size of the footprint of the proposed Long Wharf development because the value of the Lantic Sugar site hasn't been determined yet, and if the value of that site is diminished than Irving Oil's proposed headquarters site should also shrink. Council's approval will also allow mixed development in a designated waterfront district.

Long Wharf Proposal Gets Support

There is no shortage of support for the inclusion of the proposed Long Wharf development in the new Waterfront District. General Manager of Uptown Saint John Peter Asimakos says there is no uptown or downtown in the country that wouldn't want a development like Irving Oil's proposed headquarters.

CEO of Enterprise Saint John Steve Carson says this project will help bring newcomers to the city. Waterfront Development chair Charlie Swanton says development of Long Wharf will make Saint John a better place to work in, visit and live.

Provincial Deficit Released

The provincial government is reporting a 192 million dollar deficit, according to the latest audited financial statements ending in March. That's a far cry from the original 19 million dollar surplus the province had planned for. However, when the budget was tabled in March, officials forecast the 2008-2009 deficit to be 265 million dollars. The province says the debt is lower than predicted because of tight spending and the fact pension expenses were less than expected thanks to a slight upswing in the markets.
Finance Minister Greg Byrne says there are some tough decisions to be made as the province recovers from the global economic slowdown. Pre-budget consultations begin early in October for the 2010-11 budget. The province's total net debt is 7.4 billion dollars.

PM says Ottawa's Hands Tied Over Blood Distribution Centre Move

(PM Harper Speaking in Saint John)
       Photo by Jim Hennessy

Prime Minister Harper has touched on the economy and Point Lepreau during his visit to Saint John. But What about the future of the blood distribution center in Saint John. Canadian Blood Services has a proposal on the table to move it's facility from Saint John to Dartmouth. Harper says he doesn't see a lot of room for Ottawa to get involved.

Just last week, Premier Graham told CBS officials the Province is willing to pick up the cost of an expansion at the current facility in Millidgeville. CBS says they will meet with the Health Minister next month to discuss the proposal.

Update on Missing Man

RCMP have solved the case of a missing man. Last week, they were on the hunt for 48-year old Christopher Parlow who was reported missing on September 5 from Manitoba.

Parlow was found in Kingston, Ontario on Friday of last week. Officers thought he might be headed for Saint John.