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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Solving Poverty Begins At A Young Age

It's doesn't shock anyone in Saint John to hear there are poor kids in poor families but, it might shock you to hear 34 per cent of children under the age of 6 are living in poverty.   That stat is the finding of the Business Community Anti-Poverty Initiative who support more early learning centres in Saint John.
Human Development Council Executive Director Randy Hatfield tells CHSJ News the province and others believe the best way out of poverty is by having a job.

He says that calls for economic development within the province but it also means people need the appropraite skills to enter the labour force so it all comes back to education eventually.

Hatfield adds there is overwhelming evidence that the early years are the most important when it comes to education.
He says almost pre-natal interventions are required for making sure kids are in warm safe homes and that parents have jobs to provide nutritious food.

Fire At Mount Pleasant Home Turns Into Police Investigation

A fire at 374 Mount Pleasant Avenue just after 1pm turning into a joint police and fire investigation.

Acting District Chief Barry Oickle says not many details can be released at the moment and would not confirm whether anyone was hurt or home at the time of the fire.  A forensics van was at the scene.

OIckle says the fire started in the basement/family room area.

He says there is heat damage to the basement area but not a lot of water damage.

Mount Pleasant Avenue Fire

The scene at 374 Mount Pleasant Avenue where smoke could be seen coming from a North End home.

Mount Pleasant Avenue Fire

Crews remain on the scene of a house fire in the North end.    The call came in just after 1pm when smoke could be seen coming from the home at 374 Mount Pleasant Avenue.
It appears no one was home at the time. 

Traffic is being blocked in the area by police and a detour is in place.
CHSJ News learning that a joint statement by City police and the fire department on this blaze will be made this afternoon.

Enterprise Saint John Says City's Economy Is Not Stagnating

Enterprise Saint John has repaired its relationship with some members of Common Council who were clearly disgruntled. That, from Tony Goguen who chairs Enterprise Saint John. It got rocky there for a while with some doubt about whether there would be continued funding from the city.

Goguen tells CHSJ News they accomplished what they set out to do by helping 28 new business start ups get going and attract three new investment companies from other regions set up shop in the city.

He says 2011 turned out better than you would have thought at this time last year and points out the city's population actually increased by 600 people.

Goguen rejects the suggestion the city is stagnating with an unemployment rate lower than the national average and expects the local economy next year to be similar to how it performed in 2011. He warns government spending on infrastructure projects will be tailing off.

Warning To Drivers

A warning to drivers to slow down because with the temperature dropping the roads are icy. 

City Police tell us the roads are deceptively slick and treacherous especially if you have to stop in a hurry. 

One of our road warriors phoning in to tell us there's a transport truck on its side along Highway 7 east of exit 80.

There was also a collision on Red Head Road shortly before 8:00 in the morning.

Councillor Norton Wants Plan To Get Water Rates Down

Meanwhile Councillor Mel Norton says we need to plan ahead on water rates so that our rates do not become too high.

Norton getting a motion approved to have staff plan for ways to get our rates comparable to other communities by 2025.

Norton tells CHSJ News year to year with increases just won't cut it and we need a long-term plan to make us competitive

Water Rates Go Up

Common Council approving the 2012 budget for Saint John Water and with it comes a jump in the flat water rate for homes.

The rate is going up 36 dollars to 972 dollars a year as of January 1st while those on meters will see rates increase by 4 percent.

Commissioner of municipal operations Paul Groody says the increase is because of wastewater treatment, like operating the new Eastern Wastewater Treatment Facility for Harbour Clean-Up. 

He says you can't compare our rates to other communities because we're actually leaders when it comes to wastewater treatment.

He adds other municipalities like Rothesay and Halifax will see it's rates go up when it makes wastewater infrastructure upgrades as well.

The rates will continue to rise over the next few years with the water bill hitting over a thousand dollars a year by 2013.