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Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Deal On The Bridge Has Many Unanswered Questions

One week after the triumphant announcement about the Harbour Bridge Deal between the province and Ottawa, many questions do not have answers.
Councillor Bill Farren sits on the Harbour Bridge Authority's board and tells CHSJ News the future is unclear for the 28 commissionaires who work on the bridge.

He says there is definitely no word from any level of government on how to alleviate the pain of the job losses for the commissionaires or the 7 full-time employees of the bridge authority.

Farren adds they add do not know if the increase to 75 cents for the tolls in January will proceed as planned.

Unconditional Grants to Municipalities Around Province Cut

(Saint John Mayor Ivan Court)
            (File Photo)

The Provincial Government has announced the unconditional grants municipalities around the province will be receiving next year are being cut by one per cent.

Saint John will get over 19.3 million dollars which represents a cut of almost 200 thousand dollars from last year.

Mayor Ivan Court is not surprised but tells CHSJ News it will make it that much harder to hold the tax line. He also isn't sure what effect the 3 per cent freeze on property tax assessments will have on the city's bottom line.

The provincial government is granting more than 831 thousand dollars to Quispamsis.....Rothesay will receive 413 thousand with over 381 thousand dollars for Grand Bay-Westfield.

Pedestrians Can Not Access Carleton Street Doors To Pedway System

Due to the Peel Plaza construction, the entrance to the pedway system at Carleton street is closed to pedestrians.

The doors at Carleton Street will be closed for both Saint John Sea Dogs games this weekend.
You are asked to use another entrance to the pedway system or to access Harbour Station from Station Street.

The doors to the Carleton street pedway access will remain an emergency exit.
For more information, please call 658-4455.

Grand Manan Family Wants Answers In Meeting With Fisheries Minister

(Gary Austin and Miriam Cossaboom)
        (Photo by Brian McLain)

The family of missing Grand Manan fishermen Corey and Harold Cossaboom are demanding answers why their boat sank off St. Martins and hopes to get some action at a meeting tomorrow with Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea.

Corey's sister Trish Greene says they want to find out why the boat sank and is also frustrated that 7 weeks after human remains first washed up on shore along Grand Manan, there's still no identification.

Gary Austin, who once operated a diving company, says a single engine plane crashed into the Bay of Fundy off St. Martins more than twenty years ago but was intact and is likely somewhere at the bottom which would be hazardous for scallop draggers.

Austin says if the plane had broken up on impact with the water, it would have been better for fishermen.

Industrial Mishap Claims One Man In Blacks Harbour

An industrial mishap in Charlotte county claiming the life of a man this morning.

Worksafe NB and the RCMP both investigating the death in Blacks Harbour.

More information will be provided this afternoon.

Weston Says He Will Run Again If There Is Election

(Saint John M-P Rodney Weston)
            (File Photo)

There's renewed speculation about a federal election being called in the spring but Saint John M-P Rodney Weston tells CHSJ News such talk is just par for the course when you are a minority government.

Whatever happens, Weston says he will be seeking re-election.

He is skeptical about whether the three opposition parties can get together to take the Harper Government down but Weston isn't saying whether the Prime Minister will call an election.

Warning About Tough Measures From Premier

(Andrew Oland of Moosehead Breweries)
         (Photo by Brian McLain)

Premier David Alward is warning people in the province to prepare for some difficult years and difficult medicine because of the provincial deficit and debt.

Andrew Oland of Moosehead Breweries expects some consumption taxes will be raised to tackle what he calls a desperate fiscal situation. According to Oland, the provincial economy is plodding along saying it's not great but it's not desperate.

The Premier says he first wants to hear from people around the province before unveiling a spring budget. Alward has said he won't be raising the H-S-T but that measure is being advocated by David Ganong who chairs the New Brunswick Business Council.

Doucet Has Concerns On The Future Of Regional Highway Projects

There are fears about what might happen to a slew of Highway projects in our region as the Province looks for ways to cut costs.
Finance Minister Blaine Higgs says everything is being examined including the Mackay Highway expansion.
Liberal Transportation Critic Rick Doucet tells CHSJ News worries about changes to the Highway One twinning project between Lepreau and St. Stephen which came about for safety reasons and to transport goods through the Saint John corridor.

Doucet says the Conservatives are looking for ways to save money yet they sign the deal with Ottawa on the Harbour Bridge which will have significant costs over time.

A Mixed Bag On Gas Prices Around Town

Whether you save any money filling up depends on what gas you use. Self serve regular has dropped ever so slightly after the weekly setting and is being sold around town for $105.1 a litre. On the other hand, diesel is higher by almost two cents a litre at $111.4. Heating oil also went up by almost two cents to 97 cents a litre.

Moose Collision Ensnares Three Vehicles


      (Car Collides With Moose Near Lepreau
  (Photo Courtesy of Musquash Fire Department)

Three vehicles were involved in a collision with a moose on route 790 at Lepreau. One car struck the moose shortly before 7:30 last night and managed to park a short distance away by the side of the road. Another car trying to swerve around the dead moose and collided with a vehicle going the other way. There were no serious injuries.

Lively Ward Meeting In North End

(Saint John Common Councillor Patty Higgins)
                  (File Photo)

Lots of questions about Rockwood Park, the need for Peel Plaza and the financial troubles facing the city dominated the ward meeting in the north end.

Common Councillor Patty Higgins told the meeting citizens are not the priority, the culture at city hall is terrible and there are too many backroom decisions being made.

Everyone who attended also urged Higgins and fellow Councillor Gary Sullivan to push for the pension board's lawsuit against former Councillor John Ferguson for defamation to be dropped. Ferguson is now the City Manager in St. Stephen.

Sullivan disputes criticism voiced the other night at the Meet the Candidates debate in Ward 3 that Council is ignoring basic public needs. He points to all the money spent on roads around town.

One Subject Dominates West Side Ward Meeting

(Common Councillors Peter McGuire and Bill Farren)
               (Photo by Tamara Steele)

The #1 issue for West side residents is traffic.

That message coming through loud and clear at the Ward 1 meeting last night.
Councillor Bill Farren tells CHSJ News while the bridge work is a concern, he got more emails on the closure of Harbour Passage.

Resident Don Darling says he wonders if a city of approximately 68,000 people afford so many projects like Peel Plaza.

Councillor Peter Maguire, whose idea it was to hold the ward meetings says they help reconnect council members to the citizens.

One In Ten In The Province Will Have Diabetes By 2012

(Wellness, Culture and Sport Minister Trevor Holder)
A disturbing new report from the Provincial Department of Health finds 1 in 10 people in this province will be diabetic by 2012.
Wellness, Culture and Sports Minister Trevor Holder tells CHSJ News it's not a crisis yet but, it will be soon if we don't fix it.

Holder says if New Brunswickers could spend 30 minutes a day doing some sort of physical activity they could reduce their chances of getting type 2 diabetes by almost 60 per cent.
The goverment estimates that by 2016, the health care cost for people in the province with diabetes will be $198 million per year.