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Monday, March 25, 2013

Energy Use Drops 3% During Earth Hour

We flicked off our switches and unplugged our electronics for Earth Hour, and because of it, the city's energy use dropped by almost 3%. 

Ray Robinson, president and CEO of Saint John Energy says that by spending that 60 minutes in the dark, we start to think about electricity in a different light. He tells CHSJ news that we all take electricity for granted sometimes, but by going energy-free even for a short time, we start to realize the value of it.

He says overall they saw about a 3 megawatt reduction in the system on Saturday.

The Boil Water Order Is Lifted

You can drink from the tap again.

The boil water order in place since Friday for many Saint John residents has been lifted.

Tests have been reviewed by the Department of Health and the District Medical Officer of Health has rescinded the boil water order.

It was put in place by on Friday after an equipment malfunction in East Saint John and that problem has since been fixed.

If you have been away from home over the last few days, it's recommended that you take a few minutes to flush out the water in your plumbing.

All you need to do is turn on the taps in your house for a few minutes.

Keep Boiling That Water

Thousands of Saint Johners east of the Reversing Falls bridge remain under a boil water order.

Millidgeville is not included.

Sampling began over the weekend and the results have been sent to the Department of Health. 

They will make the decision whether to rescind the order or not.

An update is expected between 5 and 6 tonight.


You Can Still Nominate A Great Volunteer

You still have time to nominate any awesome volunteers you know in the City.  

 The deadline to nominate someone for the 3rd annual Volunteer Appreciation Awards next month has been extended until Thursday at 4pm.

Deputy Mayor Shelley Rhinehart tells CHSJ News its important because many organizations would not exist without volunteers.

She says if we don't recognize their efforts and encourage others to volunteer then some of our organizations will be in trouble.

29 nominations have been submitted so far and the winners will be announced April 24th at the Lily Lake Pavilion during Volunteer Appreciation Week. 

To nominate someone, click here

Business Owners Should Set Their Own Hours, Says Letter Written To Council

If you want to hit the shops on Sunday, you're out of luck until lunchtime. But Jim Cormier, the Retail Council of Canada's director for Atlantic Canada wrote a letter to common council asking them to let businesses choose when they open and close

Business owners in Moncton, Dieppe, Riverview, and Grand Falls all set their own hours on Sunday, and Cormier tells CHSJ news that many establishments don't even make changes, it's just about having the option. He says it's the next logical step when it comes to Sunday shopping.

In his letter he told city council that if they're interested in hearing more, he'll swing by the common council meeting on April 8th.

Funeral Tomorrow For Longtime City Employee And Hockey Star

A funeral service will be held tomorrow at noonhour in Brenan's on Paradise Row for Nick Nicolle, who died over the weekend at the age of 88.

Nicolle worked for the city from 1957 to 1988 when he retired as Director of Parks and Recreation.

He was also known as a pretty good hockey player being inducted into both the Saint John and P-E-I Sports Halls of Fame. He was a member of the Saint John Beavers when they won the Maritime Senior Hockey title in 1953.

 Nicolle also was a member of the 1985 Canada Games Committee.

Volunteers Can Start Applying For World Women's Curling Event In City

If you want to be part of next year's Ford World Women's Curling Championship in the city, you can start applying now.

Event Chair Jeff Lacey tells CHSJ News 400 volunteers will be needed in a variety of jobs from driving to bartending but, judging by the amount of interest shown since the announcement back in December that Saint John will host the event, he doesn't foresee any problem in having enough.

Lacey says it's been 15 years since a curling event of this magnitude has been held in the city and back then, the level of interest in being part of it was tremendous.
You can apply by going to

Highway 7 Crash Claims One Man

RCMP telling CHSJ News about a deadly crash on Highway 7 about 730 this moring involving a pickup truck and a tractor-trailer near the Geary exit.

That crash is causing a major traffic snarl today on Highway 7.

Corporal Chantal Farrah tells CHSJ News a man driving a northbound pickup crossed the centre line colliding with a transport truck.

The driver of the pickup died at the scene but the transport driver was not hurt.

There is a roadblock set up on Highway 7 and all drivers are being rerouted via Highway 101 through Geary up to Welsford.

RCMP officers are posted at either end of Highway 101 directing traffic.

Motorists can expect delays for several hours.

MindCare Raising Money For Mental Health

MindCare's big fundraiser "Skate to Care" over the weekend at Harbour Station raised more than 132 thousand dollars.

Sheila Levesque was the top individual fundraiser while Investors was the the top fundraising team.

City Votes To Pursue Public Private Partnership For Water

Barring a huge jump in the expected costs--or the rejection of our application--a public private partnership will be the way of the future for the City of Saint John's water utility. 

 Common council voted 7-1 in favour of applying for the funding from P3 Canada: which, according to a report by city staff, could open up as much as $100 million dollars in funding, or 25% of the project. 

Activist groups including Common Causes and the Council of Canadians have been vocal in their disapproval of the model. We asked Mayor Mel Norton whether the rates will rise for industrial users as they will for residential customers. The Mayor responded that while such an increase is not currently part of the conversation, industrial users will certainly be expected to pony up for the cost of delivering their water. The Mayor also said we will be seeing two separate systems for potable water and water used only for industrial purposes, since the former needs to be chlorinated. A new metering system will also likely be part of the future for big companies; however, those would be an ancillary project not funded by P3. 

Common Councillor Bill Farren was the only one to vote against and he tells CHSJ News his rationale was simply that he does not believe the project will be cheapest under the model.

The project is expected to take 5 years under a P3. P3 Canada will take a maximum of 90 days to get back to council with an answer.

It's Bigger & Bigger For This Summer Market

It's growing like a weed and in this case...that's a good thing.

On June 2nd, the Queen Square Farmer's Market will begin its 3rd season running every two weeks until October.

Jody Kliffer tells CHSJ News the City will put the $5000 they got from winning an energy award towards installing electricity in the park.

He says having an electric outlet on site means they can add breakfast vendors, cheesemakers and local organic meat.

Kliffer says having a power source will also allow them to add more live music to the event.

The Queen Square Farmer's Market began as a one-off event in September of 2011.

Council Feeling Rising Pressure to Fix the City's Water System

Straight from the tap isn't an option --- your two choices are boiled or bottled. 

With the city issuing its second boil water order in two months, council is feeling the rising pressure from Saint Johners to fix our water system. They're going to say yes or no to a public-private-partnership at tonight's meeting, and councillor Bill Farren tells CHSJ News that P3 is such a heated issue simply because we can't survive without water.

Farren is undecided on the issue, and says he doesn't want council to make the decision in a hurry, without weighing the pros and cons.

Provincial Budget Unveiled Tomorrow

All eyes in the province tomorrow will be on what Provincial Finance Minister Blaine Higgs comes up with in his latest budget. 

The provincial government's deficit has risen to above 400 million dollars and the debt is in the neighbourhood of 11 billion together with a sluggish economy and, because of that, shrinking population. 

Kevin Lacey, the Atlantic Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, tells CHSJ News now is the time for something bold to get back on track and that means doing something significant to cut spending.

Lacey argues provincial government spending has gone up 1.7 billion dollars in the last five years but there's little to show for it. It's estimated each man, woman and child in the province owes more than 30 thousand dollars in provincial and federal debt.

Boil Water Order To Remain In Effect Through The Day

Don't look for the latest boil water order to be lifted until this evening, according to latest word from the city as it awaits results of a second round of testing. 

The boil order has been in effect since Friday afternoon after a chlorination failure at the Latimer Lake Water treatment plant because of low water pressure and a leak. This mean't the water could not be disinfected. 

Common Council is being told the Regional Medical Health Officer, as far back as 2003, was expressing concern over pathogens being in the water that even chlorination couldn't get rid off. 

Council also being told it will be 2018 before the city has clean drinking water, complete with construction of a water treatment plant on the east side. The estimated cost is 260 million dollars.