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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

City Will Host Info Session On Public Space At Peel Plaza

If you're curious as to what will be going on with the public plaza space at Peel Plaza, you will get your chance tomorrow night to find out.

The city is hosting an information session tomorrow night from 6:30 to 8:30 at the Saint John Arts Centre.

You'll be able to get a look at the plans as well as provide feedback.

CUPE Wants Report On Regional Jail Released

A third party report on conditions at the Regional jail on the Old Black River Road is now in the hands of Public Safety Minister Robert Trevors. 

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is calling on Trevors to release the report. Mike Davidson of CUPE tells CHSJ News the union believes the report is scathing in its criticism of how the jail is being run.

He says the guards are being treated horrendously so it's no surprise that beatings among the inmates and riots occur at the facility.

Davidson argues the overcrowding makes the situation even more dangerous and inmates are also threatening the guards and their families.

Amalgamation Not Happening For Rothesay and Quispamsis

Amalgamation with Quispamsis is dead for now -- that from Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop.

Bishop tells CHSJ News a joint committee had meetings this year but neither side could bring any recommendations back to council.
He expects the joint committee to be disbanded in the new year.

Blood Symposium To Be Held In City

Premier David Alward is being asked to hold off making any decision on blood services until after a public symposium is held at the Trade and Convention Centre on January 24th.

Mayor Ivan Court says anyone can have their say that night on the transfer by Canadian Blood Services of the blood production centre from Millidgeville to Dartmouth.

Enterprise Saint John General Manager Steve Carson says there are economic ramifications besides the loss of jobs which would be the ability to attract skilled workers to the health cluster that's developing at Tucker Park, with the medical school, and the Regional Hospital. 

The Premier, Health Minister Madelaine Dube and Opposition Leader Victor Boudreau will all be invited to the symposium as will Canadian Blood Services. 

According to Court, there are really just two options here with are either go it alone or stay with Canadian Blood Services but with an enhanced blood centre on University Avenue. 

The Mayor maintains it is not fear mongering to point out that people who undergo surgeries and receive fresh blood have a higher life expectancy. He maintains the future of healthcare in the province is on the line.

Survey Says More Apartment Options Available

If you're apartment hunting -- you may find you now have more options available.
A new survey from Canada Mortgage and Housing says the apartment vacancy rate in the Saint John area increased to 5.9-percent in October from 5.1 a year ago.
And while there may be more choice - rents are creeping up - the survey pegs the average rent for a two bedroom in October at 670-dollars a month -- that's a 25-dollar bump from the same month a year ago.
By comparison - the average rent for a two bedroom in Moncton came in at 715-dollars in October.

Rothesay Holds Tax Rate For 2012

The 2012 budget for Rothesay is in and it's good news for residents -- despite a 5.3 percent increase to the fire and police budgets, the tax rate will remain steady at $1.19 per $100 assessed.

The only jump in the bills comes in the form of the sewer service charge, which is going from $265 dollars to $285.

Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop tells CHSJ News the $8.9 million dollar capital budget will be put to good use.  Projects will include Oakville Acres and the Rothesay Arena.

Despite additional increases in costs to garbage collection and transportation, Bishop says the town has managed it's money well and reserves will make up the shortfall.

The General Operating budget of the town for 2012 is 15.9 million dollars.

Lots Of Views Voiced About New Direction For Development In City

There was no shortage of reaction voiced to Common Council about the proposed new municipal plan that will serve as a blueprint for future development in the city once approved. 

Chris Boudreau of Uptown Saint John maintains more and more people are moving back to the core of the city and this plan encourages that. He believes density will solve alot of the city's problems. 

Odette McGrath of Latimore Lake doesn't want to see any more gravel pits operating in her area. She complains the roads in her part of the city are not being repaired and the snow plowing leaves much to be desired. 

Developer Camille Debly says a large scale housing development in Millidgeville, the Cambridge Estates subdivision, is under threat unless it's put back in the designated growth area. 

Mac Blair of Blair Construction vows he will not be building homes in Saint John after this year and predicts property owners will be taking the city to court.

Both Enterprise Saint John and U-N-B Saint John spoke in favour of the plan which is expected to be approved with changes next month.
There's still time to make changes but the plan is expected to come before Council for adoption early in the new year.

Alward Government Rolls Out Capital Budget Today

The Alward government unveils its 2012 capital budget later today in the Legislature -- a budget Finance Minister Blaine Higgs says is not tough by business standards - but - tough by government standards.
Higgs says the Highway One twinning is taking the lion's share of spending while other needed projects and maintenance items will get some funding.
And the Minister tells CHSJ News he's taking a cautious approach as he readies the operating budget to be delivered in the spring.
Meanwhile -- Premier Alward says his government is working to get spending under control before considering any increase in taxes to battle the deficit.