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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Saint John MLA Says The Port City Is A Proven Event Host

The MLA for Saint John-Portland does not see the need for us to duplicate what others are doing such as Moncton hosting a CFL exhibition game.
Trevor Holder tells CHSJ News there is no reason why Saint Johners can get together and lobby for all kinds of different events.

He says right now we are in an aggressive bid for the Memorial Cup but he believes we have the fans and facilities to support them.
The Minister of Wellness, Culture and Sports also supports the idea of putting artificial turf at the three Millidgeville playing fields and he pledges to work with the community on it.

Province Told To Butt Out When It Comes To Energy Rates

Former Public Utilities Board Chairman David Nicholson says some major changes need to happen for the province to get a proper energy plan in place.

Nicholson tells CHSJ News need government needs to give teeth back to the utility boards when it comes to rulings on rate hikes.

He says the Lord government cost NB Power hundreds of millions of dollars years ago by capping rates and ignoring what the Public Utilities Board had to say.

The Premier's Energy Commission has wrapped up its public consultations as the province develops a long term energy plan.

Nicholson warns the direction of energy in the province needs to be shaped outside of politics. He says most other provinces only speak to policy and do not get involved in the day to day running of utilities.

Proponent Of Shale Gas Exploration In Province Warns Of Misinformation

As the Premier's Energy Commission gets down to drafting a long term policy, there's alot of talk about the potential of shale gas.

David Plante, who speaks for manufacturers and exporters in the province, tells CHSJ News the environmental concerns are not being downplayed but there is, in his view, alot of misinformation being circulated.

Plante claims, for the most part, water is used to fracture the rock. One of the major concerns is what effect this will have on the existing supplies of water.

Plante see shale gas as being, in his words, "a real game changer" for the provincial economy.

Tardiness Of Common Council Disrupts TV Coverage

Last week, there was no TV coverage of Common Council because the public meeting was one hour late in getting started.

The Regional Manager for Rogers TV, Scott Jackson tells CHSJ News city staff have been told if the meeting is more than 15 minutes late in getting started, TV coverage will be pulled.

Jackson says a number of viewers have called to complain but there has been no response from the politicians themselves. 

He says the long delays, which have become more frequent, are a disservice to viewers.

The Council meetings, at one time, were shown on a tape delayed basis but, ironically, it was Council, itself, who pressed for live coverage to return.

Confidence Expressed About Reducing Saint John Poverty Rate Despite Tight Government Budgets

The goal at Vibrant Communities is to reduce the poverty rate in the city to the national average of 15 per cent by 2015.

Dr. Regena Farnsworth, who chairs Vibrant Communities, tells CHSJ News alot of progress has been made since 2004 when the poverty rate was 28 per cent.

One disturbing trend is an increase in the teen pregnancy rate. In addition to that, more than 10 thousand Saint Johnners over the age of 25 have not completed high school. Existing programmes for housing are described as underfunded and oversubscribed with waiting lists.

 According to a report prepared by Vibrant Communities, reducing poverty cannot be achieved without significant changes to current systems.

Car Flips On Highway 1

A car flipping over into a ditch on Highway 1 going westbound in Musquash.
One adult and 3 children involved in the accident yesterday but no one seriously hurt. 

No word yet on a cause.

Fire Crews Busy Around the Province

A few people are homeless after 2 seperate house fires.

A St. Stephen couple are homeless after a fire in their apartment inside a two-storey home. Fire crews able to keep the fire contained, saving the other part of the home.  There were no injuries and no word yet on a cause.

Also, a woman in Narsh Creek losing her home after a housefire at 56 Lapointe Road on Friday.  She was not hurt and no word yet on a cause.

Blood Lab Needed For New Cancer Treatments

While the Saint John Regional Hospital is raising funds for equipment used in cutting edge cancer treatment, one doctor is worried about the affect Canadian Blood Services' impending move will have on that treatment.

Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program Dr. Terrence Comeau tells CHSJ News losing the blood production lab complicates things in the many departments, including oncology.

He says having a blood production lab is critical if Saint John wants to become the epicentre of advanced treatment.

The blood production lab is moving to Dartmouth later this year.

Students Say No to Bus Pass

Students at UNBSJ saying no to a proposal for an unlimited bus pass with City Transit during the school year.

The idea being voted down by a 2 to 1 margin.

Assisant General Manager of Saint John Transit Brian Thorne tells CHSJ News many students balked at the 200-dollar price tag and already have their own vehicles.

Thorne says Saint John Transit is leaving the door open if the idea wants to be raised again down the road.