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Monday, January 14, 2013

Snook's Bail Hearing Rescheduled

Common Councillor Donnie Snook appeared in court this afternoon looking visibly upset, and electing to waive his right to a bail hearing within 3 days. The common councillor's next court appearance has being rescheduled to next Monday at 9:30a.m.

Snook's lawyer, Dennis Boyle, told the court he received new summaries of police reports in in the early afternoon but did not have sufficient time to review them. The court also heard 3 witnesses are expected to testify and technical evidence presented. Through his defence lawyer, Snook said he was unconcerned with the time frame of the proceedings. 

Boyle says all the public interest in the case is a concern, given that is is always a challenge to get an impartial trial, let alone when so much information is being circulated beforehand; nonetheless, he says, they are able to do it.

Snook's friend, Ruth Turner says she stands by him because of her Christian faith.

Snook is facing eight charges including sexual interference with a child under 16 and possession of child pornography. The Mounties are alleging the sexual interference charge involves one child over a six-year period.

Renovations At Old Downey Ford Property

The Downey Ford property on Crown Street which has been idle now for a few years won't be for much longer, according to Mayor Mel Norton.

He tells CHSJ News since they moved to the old Parkway Lincoln location, renovations have begun at the old location.

Norton tells CHSJ News it will contain some of the largest service centres in all of Canada after the renovations are complete.

Digby Ferry Out Of Service For 4 Weeks

Another ferry is in dry-dock.

The Princess of Acadia will be out of service starting today until February 10th. The vessel is scheduled for regular maintenance and for service to it's bow thruster.

Owned by Bay Ferries, the vessel makes regular trips from Saint John to Digby, Nova Scotia.

Update On Gondola Point Ferry Released

The William Pitt II ferry is back from refit but that doesn't mean it will be returning to service at Gondola Point for a while yet. 

The Transportation Department tells us because of the weather and ice conditions, it will remain docked at Westfield until early spring. 

We're told the ferry will be back in service at Gondola Point when weather conditions permit. 

Until then, the RGL Fairweather and the Woolastook I will continue to be used at the Gondola Point ferry crossing.

Guilty Pleas In Jogger Attack In Rockwood Park

27 year old Nathan Dean pleading guilty to two charges stemming from a jogger being attacked in Rockwood Park on October 3rd.

Dean will be sentenced February 26th on charges of assault with a weapon and having his faced concealed while committing an indictable offense. Two other charges were withdrawn.

Dean was charged after a jogger was confronted on a trail by a man armed with a knife. She managed to fight him off and he fled. 

The prosecution telling the court a victim impact statement will be presented as well as a pre-sentence report. The court was also told a charge of sexual assault dating back to a separate case last August has been withdrawn.


Common Councillors Told Which Of Their Initiatives Have Not Been Acted On

A whole slew of resolutions passed by Common Council as far back as 2008 remain incomplete according to documentation. 

There's one initiative from Mayor Mel Norton, which he pushed as a councillor, for the city to come up with a report on a graffitti management plan and another in 2011 for the installation and broadcast of a webcam feed from Rockwood Park and Rainbow Park on a trial basis. 

There are a couple from Councillor Donnie Snook. One deals with restricting the use of train whistles near residential areas during certain hours and the feasibility of an after hours Pals programme at community centres for young people to increase mentorship.

Councillor Bill Farren wanted to know from the City Solicitor in 2011 on whether the city could come up with a bylaw to stop people from feeding deer and another, the same year, on finding money to carry out repairs at Seaside Park. Both are said to be still incomplete.

Former Mayor Ivan Court asked for a report on busking in the city and chalking up sidewalks with art. 

Then Common Councillor Carl Killen, now the M-L-A for Saint John Harbour, wanted a report on what could be done to safeguard monuments in the city from skateboarders and those people who would stand and sit on them.

Hydrofracking Concerns Out East

One Common Councillor making a motion tonight to see what the city can do to prevent hydrofracking.

Ward 4 Councillors David Merrithew and Ray Strowbridge have been approached by people who are concerned about the safety of their water supply, after there's been surveying activity spotted on the east side.

Merrithew tells CHSJ news he has no problem with surveying, but if hydrofacking is being looked into beside water supplies he wants to prevent it.

If it turns out only the province has the powers to prevent hydrofacking, he says they'll take it to the province.

City Moving Ahead On Water Treatment

A value for money study is being done now which will go a long way to determine whether a funding arrangement can be put in place this year to build a water treatment plant on the east side. 

Mayor Mel Norton is hopeful because this is Common Council's big priority for the year as well as the province and federal government.

Norton says Common Council should get the findings of the value for money study later this month or early next.

Prostitution Report Given To Common Council

Suggestions by Common Councillor Susan Fullerton to use city sidewalk and traffic bylaws to remove prostitutes from uptown streets have been shot down by the Police Commission. 

In a report for Common Council, the Police Commission describes the ideas as not being feasible, lawful or ethical. 

The sex trade workers in the city, numbering from 35 to 55 with 20 forming a core, are beset by poverty, drug addiction and mental health issues according to the report. It goes on to say they have been marginalised being viewed by many people as nobodies who engage in survival sex in exchange for basic needs which include food, shelter and drugs.