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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Deputy Mayor Says Parking Garage Not A Priority For Citizens

Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase is still voicing his displeasure with the Peel Plaza parking garage.

Chase says the latest citizen's survey shows road maintenance to be the number one issue with Saint Johners and parking to be low on the list.

He says it makes him wonder about the money being spent on the parking structure.

Common Council voted in favour of building the garage back in October.  Chase was one of three dissenting votes and openly critical about the project.

Watson Gets Fredericton Promotion

Trading Quispamsis for Fredericton.

District 6 Superintendent Zoe Watson getting a promotion, she is Assistant Deputy Education Minister.
Watson is filling a vacancy that became available in October.

Andrew Hopper will be taking over as the new District 6 Superintendent, he currently holds the Director of Education position.

Chang Seeks Seat At City Hall Again

A former common councillor is hoping for another term around the Port City's horsheshoe.
Jay Chang agrees with others who see the negative culture as a problem for city hall.
He tells CHSJ News we live in a democracy but, it doesn't feel that way most of the time.
He says it's great that the city hosted the Ward meetings last week but, more interaction is needed.
Chang says city hall should be more transparent.

Local Housing Market Described As Static With Buyers Holding The Upper Hand

With the economy just plodding along and Saint Johnners not as optimistic about the economy as they were last year, the housing market is described as static in the latest report from Remax.

Local realtor Gordon Breau tells CHSJ News it will likely remain that way for a few months yet but he expects activity to start taking off again by the middle of next year. He says housing in the Valley remains hot and an attractive location for young families.

Breau also warns potential buyers housing prices will not be going down because land is at a premium and regulations governing the building of new homes boost the overall cost.

Seniors In Province Looking For Better Care

The number one priority for the New Brunswick Senior Citizens Federation is to have cancer drugs covered by medicare because they're so expensive and for some people in the province, a matter of life and death.

The Federation's Conrad Leblanc tells CHSJ News there is concern over all this talk about cutting the provincial budget but he's hoping Premier David Alward will strike a balance and not just slice and dice.

The Federation is also calling for the government to resume notifying seniors when their driver registrations expire and abolition of ambulance fees.

Friends Of Rockwood Park To Question Plan SJ About Municipal Plan

The Friends of Rockwood Park will be on hand for the open house tomorrow night hosted by Plan SJ to let people know how far along they are in getting a new municipal plan in place.

Three areas, Martinon, Treadwell Lake and Lorneville, have been identified as natural areas but they don't include Rockwood Park. David Thompson of the Friends of Rockwood Park tells CHSJ News he finds that surprising and disconcerting.

Thompson is questioning whether Plan SJ is being unduly influenced by what he calls their political masters at City Hall.

The new municipal plan is to serve as a roadmap for future development in the city for the next generation and there is concern more young people have not been involved in shaping it.

Nurse Practitioners Cited As Way To Reduce Healthcare Costs And Wait Times

If the provincial government wants to reduce its health care budget, it should rely more on nurse practitioners and have more of them in nursing homes. That word coming from Sue Cole, who's the nurse practitioner at Loch Lomand Villa.

Cole tells CHSJ News emergency room care is 3 to 4 times the cost of care in a nursing home and a seven day stay in hospital costs an estimated 7 thousand dollars.

There are over a thousand nursing home beds in the Saint John region but only 300 are covered by nurse practitioners.

Saint Johnners Want More Compact City According To Plan SJ

According to the latest community feedback Plan SJ is receiving about the municipal plan, the future of the city lies in focusing on compact urban development.

Consultant Cyndi Rottenberg-Walker says the key message is to focus development on the priority neighbourhoods and build up on top of existing infrastructure.
Another key recommendation is to establish a significant retail presence in the north end.
Plan SJ will be presenting its latest progress at an open house meeting tomorrow. It starts at 5pm at the UNB Saint John Grand Hall building across from the City Market.

Common Council's Priorities Are The Same As Those Identified By Saint Johnners

The priorities of Common Council are lining up with what the people of Saint John deem important..... That, according to the 2010 Citizen Survey.

The latest results show that roads, water and sewer treatment, taxes, the budget and employee issues top the list of priorities for Saint Johners.

Heather Shuve with Ipsos-Reid says accountability and the priority areas identified by Council lines up nicely with the results.

Overall satisfaction with living in the city stayed virtually the same as last year's results but the city did see slight drops in satisfaction when it came to economic outlook and traffic flow. The loss of several high profile projects, like the second refinery, contributed to the bleaker outlook.