Linked Header

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Former City Councillor Says Procrastination Hurts Everyone

A former Common Councillor has a little advice for the current administration at City hall:  procrastination doesn't win you any favours.
Ken Gould remembers in the 80's when they ran late with the budget once but they found a way to get it done.
Gould tells CHSJ News he doesn't have an issue with closed session because it's the decisions that are important and not the chit chat. 
Gould says he thinks things were a little more stable in his day and this council needs to learn to compromise.

West Side Call Centre Closing Down

142 Saint Johners will be out of work on May 16th as the Atelka call centre on Manawagonish Road will be shutting down.

Spokesperson Karine Vachon tells CHSJ News notification was given to employees today.

Vachon says the closure is a way to improve the company's operational efficiency.

The contact centres in Fredericton and PEI will remain open.

NDP Leadership Candidate Thomas Mulcair Stumping In Saint John

Federal New Democratic Party leadership candidate Thomas Mulcair making a stop in the city today to drum up support for his bid to lead the N-D-P.

Mulcair tells CHSJ News the federal government needs to work more closely with municipalities as cities have major responsibilities, such as transit, affordable housing, and drinking water.

He says on a federal level, the NDP needs to hold onto its Quebec seats while growing in Atlantic Canada, which is beyond its traditional base.

Alward Government Criticised By Former Cabinet Minister Who's Also Conservative

A former Conservative provincial cabinet minister is speaking out against shale gas development and fracking.
Tony Huntjens likens Premier David Alward's stance on this issue to the attempted sale of NB Power by then Premier Shawn Graham which is considered a big reason why the Liberals were defeated in the last provincial election.
Huntjens tells CHSJ News the Alward Government isn't giving people a voice on this issue that will have long term ramifications and, in his view, will endanger groundwater because of all the chemicals that won't come back to the surface after fracturing.
He also says it's wrong to brand the opposition to shale gas development as extremists.

Huntjens also points out when the Premier was in opposition he said in the Legislature there were dangerous elements with fracking.

Last week, another former provincial conservative cabinet minister, Bud Bird was critical of the Alward Government for arbitrarily changing natural gas regulations that govern Enbridge Gas.

Historic Donations In Millidgeville

Two longtime donors celebrating a huge accomplishment at Canadian Blood Services.

Don Shaw and Ken Gould are the first donors in the province to donate plasma 700 times. 
Shaw, who gave blood for the first time in 1965, tells CHSJ News he has a family connection to blood and plasma donation.

He tells us his daughter needed a complete blood transfusion when she was 2 years old as a RH negative child and he figures if someone could help his daughter 45 years ago then maybe his donations can save someone today.

Shaw says he never thought he'd make 700 donations because he never thought he'd make it to the age of 75.

Special Open Meeting Of Common Council Scheduled

A special meeting of Common Council will be held tomorrow afternoon to again talk about the city budget.

Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase tells CHSJ News it's time to break the deadlock and he's optimistic consensus can be reached.

Chase says he and three other Council members took the rare step of petitioning the Common Clerk to schedule the public meeting.

He admits there is still division on Council between those who are confident the changes to the city's pension plan will be approved and those, like himself, who want to see this year's budget reflect 9 million dollars in savings that would have to be found if the province rejects the pension reforms.

Chase says it's imperative to get the budget done because the tax bills have to go out and the city can't operate if it has no money.

Connors Brothers Donate Island To Nature Trust

The Nature Trust of New Brunswick has a new island to protect in the Bay of Fundy.
Connors Brothers donated Southern Wolf Island which is located about an hour between Blacks Harbour and Grand Manan.

Renata Woodward tells CHSJ News the Nature Trust has been active in Charlotte Country through the Campaign for Coastal Lands.

She says Connors Brothers is doing reconstruction on their company and they wanted to make sure some of the lands they are divesting are protected.

Woodward says Southern Wolf Island has at-risk species and a high ecological value so, it will not be promoted for tourism but likely used for research.

Arrests Made As Drivers Try To Elude Police

A 22-year-old man and a 17-year-old youth appeared in Sussex Provincial Court to face charges of attempting to avoid police during traffic stops.

The RCMP stopped a vehicle on Church Street in Sussex. While the officer was attempting to arrest the driver, the vehicle sped away.

22-year-old Jeremy Harding of Apohaqui was later arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle while being pursued by police, dangerous driving, resisting a police officer and public mischief.

A bit later also on Church Street, another driver refused to stop for police going through a parking lot before colliding with another police car.

A 17-year-old youth from Smith's Creek. was arrested and is charged with operating a motor vehicle while being pursued by police and dangerous driving.

Council Fails To Pass Budget And Tax Rate

The stalemate over the city budget continues -- Common Council ultimately voting down the discussion of various budget scenarios in open session.

But council also not approving the tax rate, which could cost the city 60 to 70 thousand dollars because the province would have to send separate property tax bills due to the delay.

Councillor Chris Titus says council should approve the tax rate ahead of the budget because the budget will be 144 million dollars no matter which version gets passed.

But Councillors Higgins, Snook, Farren, and Norton felt that approving a tax rate before finalizing the budget was not the proper way to do things.

New Municipal Plan Officially Adopted

At least one thing is certain after last night's chaotic council meeting -- Plan SJ has become a reality after two years.

Planning Commissioner Ken Forrest tells CHSJ News putting the new municipal plan into action will be an ongoing process, in which Saint Johners will play a big role.

He says it will be a living document and residents will expect the city to implement the plan and monitor it over time.

PlanSJ means major changes for land use, infrastructure, and smarter development in the city--and Forrest says that whatever budget is passed, it has to reflect those priorities.