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Thursday, March 31, 2011

New KV Chamber President Says He's A Big Thinker

The new President of the K-V Chamber of Commerce is Camille Bordage of the Grape d'Vine who describes himself as a big thinker.   He aims to elevate the image of the chamber and adds some sparkle to it.  He says uniting the business community in the Valley is what's important.  The Chamber is giving the Q-Plex ten thousand dollars over the next five years. It was told by Quispamsis Mayor Murray Driscoll the project may not be on time but it is on budget.

Bridge Authority GM Denies Province Made Them An Offer To Remove Tolls Without Liability

The Harbour Bridge Authority is not taking the blame for the tolls not coming off the Bridge tonight.
General Manager Ken Anthony tells CHSJ News there was never an offer from the Province to remove the tolls without liability.
He says if that was the case they would have taken it.
According to the Bridge authority's legal counsel the board and staff would have had liability issues in unilaterally removing the tolls today because they do not have authority to do that and as far as they can tell nothing changed from the Province on that today. He tells us from what he is hearing it will be the first of the week before the tolls come off.  Anthony adds motorists wondering if they should add money to their B-Pass can do so or pay cash.  He say extra police will be on hand near the toll plaza not because of concerns of drivers not paying but about speeding.

Weston Says Delay On Tolls Won't Affect Agreement

Incumbent Conservative M-P Rodney Weston says it's unfortunate there's been a setback in having the tolls removed from the Harbour Bridge -- but -- he tells CHSJ News it won't have any impact on the agreement between the province and federal government.

Weston says the March 31st deadline wasn't set by Ottawa - it was set by Premier Alward -- he says all the federal government needs is for the province to complete the legal aspects of the transfer.

Tolls Won't Be Removed From Harbour Bridge - Breaking News

The tolls won't be coming off the Harbour Bridge this evening as promised -- Transportation Minister Claude Williams just made the announcement in the Legislature.

Williams is blaming the Opposition Liberals for delaying passage of the Bill to abolish the Harbour Bridge Authority thereby clearing the way to eliminate the tolls.

The Minister says the Harbour Bridge Authority has declined to remove the tolls this evening because the Bill hasn't been passed and received Royal Assent.

Opposition Leader Victor Boudreau maintains the government now has control of the assets of the bridge giving it authority to remove the tolls.

Plan Unveiled On Regional Hospital Operating Rooms

The Horizon Health Network has released plans to resolve the problem with operating room times at the Regional Hospital.

Right now 6 operating rooms are running at 68 per cent capacity. The goal is to have those six operating at full capacity by September of 2011 which would require the hiring of another anesthetist.

The long term goal is to have 7 operating rooms running at full capacity by February of next year which requires 3 additional anesthetists in total.

Chief of Staff, Dr. Brian Wheelock says the other problem that has to be overcome, and will be a tough nut to crack, is the availability of acute care beds at the Regional Hospital. A large percentage of those beds are now being taken up by people who should be in nursing homes if space were available.

The Donald Is Coming To The Port City

It's official...the Donald is coming to the Port City this fall.
And that's not all...Donald Trump will be joined on stage by Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani
and former Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams.
Brad Leblanc of Momentum group says this event will provide huge economic spinoffs for Saint John's hotels, restaurants, bars and attractions.

He says before today rumours had filled one hotel and he expects the others be booked.  He add these events provide a great economic impact to our region with millions and millions of dollars.

Online ticket sales start April 6th and box office ticket sales the following day.
Prices range from $169 for bowl seats and $269 for floor and premium bowl seats.
The event called "Spark:  Crash, Learn and Conquer" is coming up on Thursday, October 6th at Harbour Station.

Peninsula Princess Set To Return

Good news for Kingston Peninsula residents -- the Peninsula Princess is set to return to service April 10th.

Transportation Minister Claude Williams says the return date is based in part on government restraint measures.

The 24-car ferry plies the Kennebecasis River between Millidgeville and Summerville until late fall.

New Deal Ratified At Moosehead

Moosehead and its unionized employees officially have a new contract agreement that will expire in 2018 after they voted in favour of ratification.

The agreement includes wage increases from 6.5 to 7.5 per cent over the life of the contract.

The brewery says the agreement includes provisions that will help solve the company’s long term costs for future retiree health care benefits without adding a retiree cost-sharing component which was the major issue that led to the lockout.

There will be a restructuring in the delivery of but no changes to the retiree healthcare benefits package for those employees who will retire during the new contract period. All remaining unionized employees eligible for retiree healthcare benefits will receive enhancements to their retirement savings plan designed to pay for their retirement healthcare benefits.

A Mixed Bag With Gas Prices

There has been another change in gas prices after the weekly setting........Self serve regular has risen by 2 cents a litre to $1.25.4 around town while diesel has gone down to $1.33.9, a decrease of almost 2 cents.

 Home heating oil is also a bit less expensive being listed at $1.18.2 a litre.

Will The Tolls Be Gone Tomorrow?

Today is the big day -- at least that's what was promised late last fall when Prime Minister Harper was in the city to announce a deal to remove the Harbour Bridge tolls by midnight.

But -- in the Legislature -- debate has bogged down on the bill to dissolve the Harbour Bridge Authority and clear the way to remove the tolls -- a move Opposition Leader Victor Boudreau says is possible even if the bill is delayed because it states the province took control of the bridge when it received first reading last week.

Transportation Minister Claude Williams denies that's the case -- he says the Bridge Authority is in control until the bill receives third and final reading -- and -- royal assent.

Final approval of the bill could come at some point later this afternoon. Royal assent isn't expected before tomorrow meaning it may be some time tomorrow before the bridge toll plaza is closed.