Linked Header

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Budget Doesn't Look Good For Business In Saint John

Things just got even tougher for Saint John businesses with the unveiling of the provincial budget.

That's the sentiment being expressed by Saint John Board of Trade Chair Larry Hachey. He tells CHSJ News the budget does too little for the sectors we need most desperately to grow.

He points out there have been no structural changes or rationalization of services in the healthcare sector, and it's hard to get and keep a physician. In terms of education, higher learning facilities are the hotbeds of 90% of our research and development yet they're not receiving any additional funding.

Hachey says it's obvious that we have an expense problem, and simply increasing revenue isn't going to cut it unless we address the root issue as well.

Sussex RCMP Still Looking For White

The Dairytown Mounties are still looking for a man after a stabbing late last month where a woman was hurt.

It happened near Sussex on February 27th and a charge of attempted murder was laid against 49-year-old Robin White and a warrant was issued for his arrest on March 4th.  

Despite many efforts, White has still not been located.

Robin White is described as white about 5 foot 11 brown hair and brown eyes.
He was last seen wearing glasses, a black coat, jeans and black boots. 

He may be driving a 2009 grey Honda Ridgeline truck with the provincial license plate CPM 926.

If you know anything about the location of Robin White or the vehicle he was seen driving,  contact police or Crime Stoppers immediately but do not approach him. 

To reach Crime Stoppers, click here

Lacey Calls Budget A Slap In The Face To Middle Class Families

A slap to the face of average working families... that's what Kevin Lacey of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling tax increases presented at the provincial budget. He tells CHSJ news it's an attack on the struggling middle class.

He says families will have to shell out up to $1000 in more tax in some cases. The $8.5-billion budget presented today will see personal income taxes hiked to 2006 levels, and that's expected to yield $136 million for 2013-14. 

He tells us the only positive thing he's seen so far is getting rid of the government airplane, which he calls the gravy plane.

Leslie Will Run For The Ward 3 Seat

5 candidates so far are running in the Ward 3 byelection this spring and a few more are thinking about it.

Allen Leslie moved to Saint John 15 years ago and tells us drinking water, transit and jobs are big issues.

He tells CHSJ News we are losing our affordable housing adding the City has apartments renting around $600 and you would walk in and walk right back out.

He says the landlord realized he wasn't going to rent them that way so he renovated but Leslie tells us he went too far making the units unaffordable with rents exceeding $1200 or higher.

Leslie thinks the City should fix our drinking water but only through a method that is affordable.

Burton Man Dies In Geary Crash

The Mounties releasing the name of the man killed in a crash on Highway 7 yesterday near Geary. 

44-year-old Michael James Boucher of Burton died at the scene of a collision early Monday morning between his truck and a transport.

Boucher was the only driver in a pickup truck heading northbound on Highway 7 that crossed the centre line and collided head-on with a transport truck.

The transport truck driver was not hurt.

Nature Conservancy of Canada Gets $20 Million

This year's federal budget pledging a significant sum of cash to the conservation of undeveloped landscapes. 

$20 million going to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and the NCC's Andrew Holland tells CHSJ news that on a local level, they'll build on the work they've done on the Musquash Estuary.

The money will support their Natural Areas Conservation program through 2013-2014. Holland says the non-profit is going to start work on matching the federal contribution.

The Provincial Budget Contains Pain For Smokers

The Province delivering a budget that hikes tobacco taxes and eliminates previous income tax cuts as it tries to wrestle with a deficit projected to grow to $479 million.

    The $8.5-billion budget presented today will see personal income taxes rise to 2006 levels which is a measure expected to generate $136 million in revenue for 2013-14.

    The corporate income tax rate will be increased to 12 per cent from 10 per cent on July 1, resulting in an estimated boost of $17 million in additional annual revenue.

    Smokers will also pay higher taxes on tobacco as of midnight tonight---up two cents per cigarette.

    Finance Minister Blaine Higgs says the government will continue efforts to reduce the size of the public service through attrition and attempt to cut their use of sick leave by 20 per cent.

    Higgs says the government can return to balanced budgets by 2015-16 if there is improved economic growth and revenues.

For more info, click here


Ice Jams Could Lead To Flooding

For the next 2 days people who live and work along the province's rivers might want to look our for ice-jam flooding.

Above-freezing temps and sporadic flurries and rain showers forecasted for tonight and tomorrow could lead to the break-up and movement of ice.

An ice jam along the Nashwaak River at Stanley Bridge has stabilized but officials continue to monitor another ice jam downriver at MacLaggan Bridge. Don't use your recreational vehicles on the ice.

A Lot Of Saint Johnners Without A Place To Call Their Own

The annual report card on homelessness in the city will be released tomorrow but we do know the emergency shelters in the city were busy last year.

An accurate count of how many people are homeless in the city is tough to come by but it's known 341 stayed at emergency shelters during 2012. The Salvation Army in the south end had the highest occupancy rate of any of the 8 emergency shelters in the province. The length of stay at 31 days was also the highest. 

91 women stayed at Coverdale Centre and 42 men used the Out of the Cold shelter at Grace Presbyterian Church from December to March. 

Shelter space is also available to pregnant and teenaged moms at First Steps Housing who have no where else to go and abused women in Hestia House.

The Way Of The Future For Saint John's Water

Barring a huge jump in the expected costs--or the rejection of our application--a public private partnership will represent 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 in funding. 

A number of activist groups including Common Causes and the Council of Canadians have been vocal in their opposition to the funding model. CHSJ News asked Mayor Mel Norton whether the rates will increase for industrial water users as council has heard they will for residential users. The Mayor responded that while raising industrial rates is not currently part of the conversation, we can certainly expect industrial users to pony up for the cost of delivering their water. The Mayor also says a new metering system will be part of the future for big companies; however, that will be an ancillary project not funded by P3. Further, we'll be seeing two completely separate systems for industrial and residential users, since the former have no need for chlorination in their water.

Common Councillor Bill Farren was the only councilor to vote against making the application to P3. He tells CHSJ News he simple lacks full confidence that the public private partnership will be cheapest for Saint John over the coming decades.

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.

Warning About Having Sex With Strangers

People around the province who are having anonymous sex are being encouraged by the chief medical health officer to be tested for sexually transmitted disease.   

Dr. Eilish Cleary issuing the warning because of an increase in the numbers of people in the province having unprotected sex with strangers they meet on dating websites. 

Recently, a New Brunswicker, who was a frequent user of a website that facilitates anonymous sexual encounters and had about two dozen sexual partners living in the province, tested positive for HIV. Health officials are now trying to track down the people, mostly men, he had sex with. 

The sexual encounters took place in Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton.

Boats Broken Into

City Police arresting two men, aged 18 and 19, after numerous boats were broken into at the Saint John Powerboat Club in the north end.