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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

North End fire impacts up to 14 residents

20 City firefighters battled a blaze on Victoria Street in the North End today.
The call came in just past 3:30 as an outside fire but, was upgraded to a structure fire once crews arrived to investigate.

The fire was at the back of the building and in the attic.
12 to 14 people who live will be displaced tonight at least and the Red Cross is assisting them.

No one was hurt but, a dog was rescued from the building.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Commissioning of Third Tank Underway

(Shot of LNG Site in Red Head)

              (File Photo)

Canaport LNG has begun the process of bringing it's third storage tank on-line.

This means flaring will happen and be visible from some vantage points within Saint John over the next two weeks.

There will also be a significant flare which is normal in the commissioning and cool down of each LNG storage tank.
Once the tank is ready, the flare will continue to operate at its standard height and will not be visible to most Saint John residents.

Rothesay Netherwood Student Grabs Top Honor

If you plan to do some travelling, you may want to find out if Nathaniel Noel from Rothesay Netherwood school can come along.

He won first place at the Provincial Tournament of the Great Canadian Geography Challenge over the weekend.

The competition is open to all students from Grades 4 through 10, displaying their interest in geography while testing their knowledge in a province-wide competition.

Noel will now compete in the national finals which take place next month on the 20 on the internet.
This is the second year in a row that a student from Rothesay Netherwood has placed first in the province and has moved on to the national competition.

Port Boss Planning Retirement

It's anchors away for the President and CEO of the Saint John Port Authority.
Al Soppitt will retire in June of next year and tells CHSJ News, he walks away from the job with no regrets.
Soppitt adds the biggest accomplishment for the Port under his tenure is the change to a more commercially orientated Port Authority.
The search for a replacement is underway by the board of directors and port authority and is expected to take up to 8 months to finish.

Is Money Available to Fix Oakville Acres Flooding

(Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop)
         (File Photo)

With $3.8 million dollars in it's reserve fund, residents of Oakville Acres are confused as to why repairs for their flooding problems can't be fixed now?

Mayor Bill Bishop tells CHSJ News, that reserve fund isn't just extra cash looking for a place to be spent.

Bishop says he realizes the urgency of the situation and town officials are doing everything they can to rectify the situation.

Last night, council approved releasing a report by an engineering firm that has looked into the flooding situation.

Saint John Energy Rates Poised to Rise

It appears Saint John Energy customers will feel the sting as well with a proposed three per cent rate hike on the table from NB Power.

If applied equally across all of the various rate categories, the utility says it leaves them with very little choice.
President Eric Marr tells CHSJ News, it's too early to say when the rate hike might go into effect.
The board tells us they still must receive word from the Energy Minister indicating a review should be carried out but at this point, no letter has been sent.

Another Road Repair Season is Underway

(Shot of Pot-Hole on King Street)
            (File Photo)

The Westfield Road is one of several areas in Greater Saint John that City Works Crews will spend plenty of time on in the coming months.
This as road repair season ramps up with one hot asphalt plant open for business so far.

Kevin Rice is Deputy Commissioner of Municipal Operations and tells CHSJ News, safety is always the first priority when they map out which roads will be worked on.
Rice adds weather plays a huge so the work can be done properly and ensure the asphalt holds for the projected time it should.

Hampton-Kings MLA to Re-Offer

(Hampton Kings MLA Bev Harrison)
           (File Photo)

Another candidate for the Provincial Conservative Party is confirmed for the fall election.

MLA Bev Harrison will be reaffirmed for the riding of Hampton-Kings tomorrow night.

He has been serving the riding for several decades, being first elected in 1978 and then reelected in 1982, 1999, 2003 and 2006.

Party leader David Alward will also speak at the event which get started at 6:30pm at the Hampton River Center.

Students State Their Case For Crime Reduction

25 ideas to reduce crime in the city compiled by a group of Saint John High students will be passed along to the powers that be.
The suggestions include a youth shelter, more affordable housing and more resources for mental health services.
Katherine Miller says there should be more emphasis on drug treatment programs.

The students are also calling for a safe incjection site which would also have drug counsellors on hand.

St. John River Looks For New Distinction

The St. John River may become part of the Canadian Heritage Rivers System-it already has a nomination.

Simon Mitchell of the St. John River Society gave a presentation to Grand-Bay Westfield town council last night who passed a motion for town staff to look into how they might help the society promote the river.
Mitchell tells CHSJ News, they are in early stages which starts with developing a Heritage strategy which they will be drafting this year.

Council suggested the St. John River Society might want to attend a couple of summer events in Grand-Bay Westfield as a way of promoting the concept.

Saint John Fire Chief Receives Honor

(Fire Chief Rob Simonds)
        (File Photo)

Fire Chief Rob Simonds is the only Canadian to be awarded a Harvard University Fellowship at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Mayor Ivan Court says fire officials from all over North America applied.

Simonds was named Sport New Brunswick's Official of the Year in 1994.
He officiated at both the 1991 and 1994 World Hockey Championships.

Tourism On Upswing In Grand Bay - Westfield

Tourism is growing in Grand Bay-Westfield -- the town's tourism committee focus is promoting tourism in the area, the community itself. and tourism opporotunities.
Councillor Brenda Murphy tells CHSJ News it started tracking activities at the Brundage Point River Centre wanting to offer free events on Sundays.
She says almost every month there are a couple of events and in the summer they're looking at having the center used almost every Sunday -- something she says will draw residents.
And Murphy says they also added canoe and kayak markers at public access point along the St. John River which have been included on a new map for tourists.

Cottage Fire Under Police Investigation

A cottage has gone up in flames along route 102 near Oak Point. The Greenwich fire department spent 3 and a half hours putting out that fire and Chief Kevin Warden tells CHSJ News the cause is suspicious. The RCMP in Grand Bay-Westfield are investigating. The cottage was vacant at the time and the power had been disconnected. Warden says the fact the power had been disconnected raised their suspicions the blaze may have been deliberately set.

Reconstruction Of Simms Corner Still A Long Way Off

(Mayor Ivan Court)
       (File Photo)

The Provincial Government has made it clear to the city if it wants financial help in the reconstruction and reconfiguration of Simms Corner, the land needed for the project must be secured first. Mayor Ivan Court says there's no doubt something has to be done to make the traffic flow there less confusing. He says the mall management is pressing for improvements and some drivers on the west side are actually afraid of trying to make their way through Simms Corner.
As for the suggestion of turning Simms Corner into a roundabout or traffic circle, the head of Municipal Operations Paul Groody argues there isn't enough space and a further complication is the presence of railway tracks.

New Fire Station Needed On Lower West Side

(Fire Chief Rob Simonds)
         (File Photo)

There's no doubt a new fire station is needed on the lower west side but Common Council isn't ready yet to give the go ahead for planning and design work. Fire Chief Rob Simonds says the station now being used is 90 years old and out of date. It's not large enough to accomodate new firefighting equipment.
Before committing itself, Council wants to hear from Simonds in early June on the impact if the fire department is limited to just a one per cent budget increase next year. Simonds says it would be premature to say where a new fire station, if built, should be constructed or the estimated cost.

City Promises More Efficient Phone System For Saint Johnners

(Common Councillor Bill Farren)      
(Photo by Brian McLain)                    

A 3-1-1 phone system for calling the city is likely too expensive. That conclusion from Deputy City Manager Andrew Beckett who vows a more efficient system for people to contact the right department when they have a problem will be phased in starting next January. Right now there are 65 phone numbers to choose from and that, according to Beckett, is too unwieldy.
City Manager Pat Woods acknowledges he's not satisfied with the cureent level of customer service.
Councillor Bill Farren says he has received complaints from people who claim they were treated shabbily over the phone when they called the city. He says the new system, when fully implemented, will wind up costing half a million dollars. Beckett argues it's far more complicated than having a pleasant voice answering the phone.