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Monday, January 18, 2010

Canaport LNG gets a new boss

(Canaport LNG facility)
(file photo)

The Canaport LNG facility has a new head honcho.
Adolfo Azcarraga moved to Saint John in 2006 to manage the technical development of the facility.
In 2004, he helped negotiate the partnershop between Repsol and Fort Reliance.
Azcarraga replaces Jorge Ciacciarelli who took on a new position this month with Repsol in Bolivia.

Fort Reliance Tackles New Challenge

In the midst of the war of words over NB Power's future, the parent company of Irving Oil is calling for a regional transmission system. Fort Reliance is looking to set up a shared transmission system that would provide many benefits including lowering energy costs. To make this a reality, the company has formed a new venture called Portage Energy Limited. Over the past 18 months, Fort Reliance has been working on a feasibility study for the Northeast Energy Corridor initiative and how this new set-up will best meet economic and environmental goals.

The company believes that a shared approach to the region's infrastructure can unlock many of the challenges it faces. Portage Energy hopes to develop between one and two million dollars worth or new transmission infrastructure with public and private partners.

Mary Schryer doesn't Shy Away from Protestors

(Health Minister Mary Schryer)
          (File Photo)

Continuing their fight to have the NB Power-Hydro Quebec proposal taken off the table, Put NB People First visited three Saint John area MLA's offices today. Health Minister and Quispamsis MLA Mary Schryer was first on the agenda and points out, the Memorandum of Understanding is the starting and not the finishing point of this topic.

Schryer adds whether it is in favor or against, she has been taking the feedback of her constituents to the Premier and she will do the same with today's rally. When asked if she would vote in favor of this decision going to a referendum, Minister Schryer says until the document has been finalized she will not make a final decision.

Able Leblanc Greets Protestors

(Saint John West MLA Able Leblanc)
           (File Photo)

Able Leblanc's office was the next stop and as usual, the MLA for Saint John West wasn't shy about giving his opinion. Leblanc says if the group is looking to point the finger of blame, they should look no further than the Conservatives who spent three million dollars behind closed doors in shopping around the utility.

Leblanc says he will continue to work for not just NB People First but for every person in his constituency and around the Province who want a say in this matter.

Minister Keir on Protest

(Energy Minister Jack Keir)
        (File Photo)

There was some lively debate between Energy Minister Keir and some of the protestors as both sides laid out their argument for and against. Keir tells CHSJ News, ""change"" is a strong word when you speak of a new look to the Memorandum of Understanding.

Minister Keir says the Liberal government will continue to make sure reasonable rates for residents and industry are part of any final proposal to grow both sectors for the long term benfit of the province.

Put NB First on Rally

(Put NB People First Protestors Gather on West Side)
                 (Photo by Jim Hennessy)

Although cold after today's tour, Put NB People First are not beaten. Spokes-person Bethany Thorne Dykstra tells CHSJ News, it amazes her that regardless of how much noise constituents make saying they are not in favor of the deal, they are staying on course to have it approved.

There are two open house meetings being hosted by Put NB People First this week.....the first is tomorrow at Kennebecasis Valley High School at seven followed by another Thursday night, also at seven at the Germain Street Baptist Church.

Moore announces money for new Fairfield Community Centre

(MP Rob Moore)
(file photo)

Fundy-Royal MP Rob Moore has announced 150-thousand dollars in funding for a new community centre in Fairfield.
The Fairfield United Baptist Church will build the community centre beside the an existing church building. The community will be able to host meetings, provide training and host events in the new centre.
The total cost of the project is $300, 000.

More Protests Over NB Power Deal

Put NB People first continue its push to get the NB Power-Hydro Quebec proposed agreement taken off the table. The group will visit the offices of three Saint John area MLA's today. Mary Schryer's office in Quispamsis is the first stop at nine o'clock followed by a trip to the West Side and Abel Leblanc's office on the Manawagonish Road. Things wrap up with a stop at Jack Keir's office in Grand Bay-Westfield late this morning. A Town Hall meeting will be held tomorrow night at Kennebecasis Valley High School. Among the speakers are Ron Oldfield with the Saint John District Labour Council, NDP Leader Roger Duguay, Jack McDougall of the Green Party and Quispamsis MLA Mary Schryer. Things gets started at seven o'clock.

Increase in Minimum Wage Causing Anxiety

The Home Support Association in the Province is another group not excited about the increase of the minimum wage to $10 an hour by next September. Executive Director Janet Gee says they would love pay their staff the $14 dollars an hour they get from the province but they also have very high expenses and overhead. She tells CHSJ News they are talking with two government departments-Social Development and Post-Secondary, Education, Training and Labour about finding a solution. Gee adds they struggle now to pay their staff over $9 an hour and this increase will put the industry in jeopardy.

City Budget Comes Up For Approval

The city budget comes up for approval tonight at Common Council with the elephant in the room being the pension issue........Will the city be able to defer its ten million dollar pension payment this year? Before that question arose, both Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase and Councillor Patty Higgins were pressing for a tax reduction. Acting City Manager Pat Woods has said if the city was forced to make that ten million dollar pension payment, the tax rate would rise by 18 cents or the budget would have to be drastically cut by the same amount in order to keep the tax rate stable. He called both of those scenarios unrealistic.

City Manager For Saint John Expected To Be Announced

Along with the final budget numbers being rolled out at tonight's meeting of Common Council, we will find out who the new permanent City Manager is going to be. The search has been on since last year when then manager Terry Totten retired from the position.
27 resumes arrived at City Hall during the coast to coast search. Pat Woods has been the acting City Manager since Totten stepped down.