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Friday, March 30, 2012

Greater Saint John Ready For Earth Hour 2012

The global movement to create awareness about climate change is coming up tomorrow night.

Earth Hour will be observed in 135 countries worldwide as people switch off their lights for 60 minutes.

Saint John Energy's VP of Engineering and Operations Darin Lamont tells CHSJ News it's important to take part at 8:30 tonight.

Lamont says you should take part between 8:30 and 9:30pm tomorrow in order to help reduce energy consumption.

He says Saint John on average is turning off the equivalent of 36,000 lights during Earth Hour adding on Monday morning they will examine the numbers to see how it went this year.

For more info, click here

City Solicitor Testifies "Untold Hours" Were Lost In Dealing With Ferguson

City Solicitor John Nugent continuing his testimony at the defamation trial of former Common Councilor John Ferguson.

He says the board had gotten outside advice there was no conflict of interest from receiving advice from staff about the pension, even if they sat on the board.

Nugent told the court that "untold hours" were lost from dealing with Ferguson.  He adds the timing was not great as Ferguson's issues were coming at a time when council was dealing with the controversial LNG tax deal.

Testimony will continue at the Court of Queen's Bench on Tuesday.

Losier Seeks Re-Election In Grand Bay-Westfield

The longtime mayor of Grand Bay-Westfield aims to stay put.
Grace Losier is seeking her fifth term this spring.

She tells CHSJ News one of her goals if re-elected would be to have all of the assets in place in order to grow Colonel Nase Boulevard.

She says one of those goals would be a new primary school adding it's the number one priority of the District Education Council and they support their efforts to achieve that goal.

She says they are looking forward to discussions with the province about regional service delivery boards and how it will impact the town.

Intelligent Communities Forum Has High Praise For Saint John

The Co-Founder of the Intelligent Communities Forum says Saint John is well deserving of its most recent designation.

The city was recently named one of the top 7 intelligent communities.

Louis Zacharilla tells CHSJ News it's great to see such a big focus on educating children and how the city looks at it as something that is expected of everyone.

He also gives credit to the city for building an ecosystem for entrepreneurs which will lead to less reliance on federal and provincial funding.

West Side Common Councillor Running Again

The city is going through tough financial times at the moment but Common Councillor Peter McGuire says, despite that, he's running for re-election.

McGuire sits on the city's clean drinking water committee and remains hopeful that huge project will come to pass in spite of both the provincial and federal governments tightening their belts.

McGuire tells CHSJ News people on the west side have told him their number one concern is the state of the roads but they also want to see their neighbourhoods green.
He also says they're concerned about the city as a whole and growth on the west side. McGuire tells us he wants to see more work done on Main Street West and Fairville Boulevard.

City Solicitor Expresses Anger At Being Likened To Martha Stewart

The defamation trial of former Common Councillor John Ferguson hears how angry and outraged City Solicitor John Nugent was at what he calls sensational assertions that were left hanging without any proof being offered to back them up.

Nugent testifies his anger was ratcheted up when Ferguson compared accepting legal advice from him to Martha Stewart whom everyone knew had been charged with illegal insider stock trading.

He was already incredibly offended at Ferguson claiming senior city staff were blocking him from getting outside advice on the pension plan which Nugent maintains was not the case because that was an option given to Common Council.

Nugent also telling the jury he found it puzzling Ferguson would not identify who was giving him legal advice referring to it only as Canadian Corporate Legal Counsel.

John Ferguson Defamation Trial

Fundy Royal M-P Defends Pension Changes

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says the Harper government is looking to the future with a budget that cuts 5.2-billion dollars in annual spending, eliminates more than 19-thousand public service jobs and promises to balance the books by 2016 at the latest. 

As expected, the government will raise the eligibility age for old age security from 65 to 67 but won't begin phasing in the change until 2023. 

Fundy Royal M-P Rob Moore tells CHSJ News the change recognises the reality there will be more and more retirees down the road. Moore says right now four workers are contributing for every retiree and in 20 years that will be down to 2 people working for every person who's retired and the average life sapan of men has risen to over 80.
Flaherty also announcing the mint will stop producing pennies this fall  since it costs 1.6 cents to make one.

Trial Ordered For East Side Man In Motel Robbery

A trial has been ordered for an Ellerdale Street man charged with robbing the Park Plaza Motel on Rothesay Avenue February 27th.

The same motel had been robbed on February 8th. 

25 year old Corey William Landry will remain jailed until his trial on August 8th. If convicted, he faces a minimum of 3 years in prison.

The court ordered a ban on reporting of any of the evidence from the bail hearing until Landry stands trial.

City By-Laws Get Reviewed As Part Of Municipal Development

The nitty-gritty of the new municipal is now under the microscope as PlanSJ is looking for input and feedback on its zoning by-laws.

Senior planner Mark Reade tells CHSJ News the by-laws help shape the city into the vision laid out in the municipal plan.

For example, the uptown area will see an increase in its mix of use such as more ground-level retail.

He says things can always change as the municipal is a living document but expects most of the work to be finalized by early 2013.

To give your feedback to the new zoning by-laws, click here.