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Monday, February 13, 2012

RCMP Conduct Search In Kingston

A large police presence on the Peninsula tonight as the RCMP conduct a search in woods off the Backland Road.

The forensics unit and a canine unit are also on the scene and have been since this afternoon.
Volunteer firefighters and at least one snowmobile are also involved in the search.

Police are not confirming reports of a body being found in the area.

Landowner And Developer Pleased With New Wetland Plan

Landowner Blair Hodgson is pleased with the changes to wetlands policy.

He tells CHSJ News the previous plan was too rigid and was going to be forced on everybody with no hope of compromise.

He says the previous strategy was a once-size-fits-all plan that didn't fit anything.

Meanwhile, Majid Debly is a civil engineer with the Debly Group and he says the new plan is more stable and will reduce the chances of landowners and consultants being blindsided with restrictions.

New Wetland Strategy Revealed

The provincial government releasing it's much-anticipated long-term wetland management strategy after numerous consultations with land owners and businesses last year.

Environment Minister Margaret-Ann Blaney tells CHSJ News a new sub-committee will map the province which will include members of the public, landowners, and businesses.

She says other goals of the plan will be to lessen the amount of red tape and reduce any conflicts municipalities may have between development and wetland protection.

The previous wetland plan was met with an outrage by landowners and developers as it designated 18 percent of the province as wetlands.

They felt it was too restrictive and hampered future development.

To read the new plan, click here.

Jury Told Ferguson Lawsuit Is About Lies And Deceit

Jurors are being told former Common Councillor John Ferguson launched an attack on the pension board for political gain.
In a long opening statement, the lawyer for pension board Barry Morrison telling jurors the case is all about lies and deceit.
Morrison says Ferguson lied and deceived because he wanted to be mayor and kept information from his fellow Councillors while besmirching the reputations of the pension board trustees.

Morrison also maintains that Ferguson knew the facts but maliciously chose to ignore them for political gain.
He says the pension plan deficit in 2003 and 2004 was caused by a downturn in the stock market.

RCMP Say The 'Hillbilly Highway' Is Open

Use at your own risk---seems to be the policy for use of the so-called "Hillbilly Highway"- the ice road connecting the Kingston Peninsula and Saint John over the frozen Kennebecasis River.     

A 'road closed' sign can be seen closer to the Drury Cove side near where a truck went through the ice last night.   A man rescued his dog from the water but it otherwise ok.

Both the Provincial department of transportation and Hampton RCMP say they have nothing to do with the sign being posted adding since it's not really a road they wouldn't be doing that anyway.

City Man In Court Over A Douglas B & E

A City man is facing charges after a break and enter last night in Douglas near Fredericton.

The 35-year-old man's vehicle was spotted in Fredericton by an RCMP member who was on their way to the scene. 

The Mounties getting a call about a break and enter taking place in a Douglas home just after 11pm.

The vehicle was stopped and the man was taken into custody.

Ferguson Lawsuit Underway

A jury of 5 men and 4 women will be listening to testimony over the next six weeks in the defamation lawsuit launched by the city's pension board against former Common Councillor John Ferguson.

The jurors have been told there will be a lot of documentation to go through and excerpts from Common Council meetings will be played for them to listen to. 

The lawsuit was launched five years ago after Ferguson voiced criticism on the management of the city's pension plan. Ferguson has since become the town manager in St. Stephen and the pension deficit has risen to 190 million dollars.

McGuire Calls For More Affordable Housing

The Department of Social Development has 415 affordable housing units constructed or in development in the city, with over 50 more being planned over the next two years

City Councillor Peter McGuire says while it's always great to have units, he was hoping there were more than double the units available now.
He says at one point there were over a thousand people on a waiting list for affordable housing.

26 percent of affordable housing in the province is located in Saint John.

Common Councillor Disappointed With Affordable Housing Numbers

Councillor Peter McGuire isn't happy with the affordable housing figures in the city.
The Department of Social Development has 415 units constructed or in development in the city, which makes up 26 percent of affordable housing in the province.
McGuire says that number is too low.

Over the next two years, the Department is planning on developing 57 additonal units in the city but McGuire wants more than double that. 

He says at one time, there were over a thousand people on the waiting list.

North End Mom Starts Anti-Bullying Campaign

Bullying is a big topic in the news these days--and a North End mom is stepping up to do something about it.

Joanne Howe, whose 10 year old daughter Dionne, is being bullied in and out of school, says she wants school and police officials to stop burying their heads in the sand about the issue. She says police and school officials can't do anything because the kids involved are too young.

Howe has taken matters into her own hands by talking to the media, and starting a Facebook group called Help Stop Bullying--Call Your Local MLA. She's also planning to work with local businesses to start a flier campaign.

Provincial Government Getting Help On Problem Of Bullying

Education Minister Jody Carr wants to come up with an overriding provincial policy on bullying and he's getting help with that from Rob Fowler, the chair of the District 8 Education Council, who's co-chairing a committee on bullying. 

Fowler says even coming up with a definition of bullying is more in the eye of the beholder. He says in Moncton, bullying is defined as "if it hurts, it's bullying" while his definition is sustained harassment over a period of time by someone who has influence or power over another person. To him, getting pushed down to the ground in a playground and punched is not bullying but it is assault.

Fowler also tells us there are 25 thousand programmes you can choose from and he also points out the makeup of each school is different so what works in one may not be the solution in another.

Mayor Dismisses Talk Of Court Action

Mayor Ivan Court doesn't believe the one million dollar cut to the police department's budget will wind up being challenged in the courts. 

The Saint John Police Association is urging the Police Commission to go to court to enforce its mandate of providing what is termed adequate policing. 

Court, who's also a member of the Police Commission, tells CHSJ News it would be too difficult to come up with a legal definition of what constitutes adequate.

As to whether public safety will be compromised or not remains to be seen......That will depend on the year to year crime stats.

Court says all cities are being forced to make budget cuts to policing. He points out in Toronto, the reduction amounts to 100 million dollars in a budget of over a billion dollars.

Two Vehicles In River

A car and a truck winding up in the icy waters of the Kennebecasis River near Drury Cove.

Police tell us the son's car went into the river first and that's when the father, in his truck, tried to rescue him and both are reportedly alright.