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Thursday, December 5, 2013

SJFD Assisting At Pulp Mill Fire

You may see a bunch of activity on the west side if you are taking the Reversing Falls Bridge home tonight.

City fire crews assisting Irving personnel in battling a blaze at a smaller building at the Pulp mill on the west side.

Traffic may be impacted in the area.

2013-14 Deficit Has Increased By $38.3 Million

The provincial government has released its second-quarter fiscal update--and despite $113 million in spending reductions, the province is reporting a revenue shortfall of almost $173-million dollars.

The revenue shortfall has caused the deficit for 2013-14 to increase by 38.3 million dollars from the first quarter to $538.2 million dollars.

Finance Minister Blaine Higgs is expected to schedule a pre-budget consultation meeting with key stakeholders throughout the province to discuss possible solutions to the revenue problems.

Memorial Tonight For Women Killed In Montreal

A memorial is being held tonight to commemorate the tragic events of December 6th, 1989 when 14 young women were killed at l'École Polytechnique in Montréal.

Tomorrow is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. It commemorates the 14 young women who died in that act of violence as well as a chance for Canadians to reflect on violence against women in our society.

The memorial runs from 7pm to 8pm at UNBSJ's Grand Hall, formerly the Scotiabank Building on Charlotte Street.

Joshua Group Founder Speaks Out On Estabrooks

The founder of the Joshua Group says he sees the devastation former City police officer Ken Estabrooks caused on a daily basis.

Hayes tells CHSJ News he started suffering abuse at the hands of Estabrooks when he was 12-years old and living in the South end and it continued for about three years. He says after that he didn't see Estabrooks again until he was 18-years old and started a job with the City, and Estabrooks became his co-worker. 

Hayes says it's a hard thing to accept when you report abuse to your supervisor and are told to "go in, or go home."

Hayes says Estabrooks abuse a lot of kids all over the city and there are a lot of damaged people living here today. It was recently revealed that the deceased officer may have sexually abused 263 children over the course of nearly three decades dating back to the late 1950s.

Hayes is named as the plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against the city of Saint John and he hopes it leads to the victims getting help. You can hear the full interview with Hayes this Sunday by tuning into Pulse NB after the 9am news.

Salvation Army Christmas Feast Serves Hundreds Despite Blackout

The Salvation Army Center of Hope staff braved a blackout to serve lunch to hundreds of folks today for their annual Feast of Christmas event.

Salvation Army Officer Rodney Bungay tells CHSJ News they've seen an increase in the number of people coming in for a hot meal at the Sally Ann--but the news isn't entirely bleak.

He says a friendly chat and smile is the reason a lot of people come in just as much as the hot meal.

Equipment Problem The Cause Of Power Outage

So what was the cause of the power outage uptown today?

NB Power spokesperson Meaghan Garrish tells CHSJ News that a peice of equipment at the end of pole at the end of the causeway malfunctioned.

She tells us the power line runs beneath the causeway and up a pole.  

When the peice of equipment called a lightning arrester malfunctioned it would have caused a big bang that everyone nearby would have heard.

The power outage lasted about 45 minutes.

Power Outage Disrupts Lunch Hour Uptown

To the delight of those working and living uptown and some in the north end,  the power is back.

A power outage just before noon made finding lunch difficult as the City Market, Brunswick Square and Market Square were in the dark and closed.

City of Saint John employee Linda Lockhart tells CHSJ News she decided to leave work when the light went out and try to find some lunch.

She tells us she finally found lunch at Tim's on King Street and she had just enough cash to pay it since the debit machines were not working.

Along with the power outage, traffic lights were out in the Uptown, parts of the North end and at Haymarket Square.  

 Police were on hand directing traffic at some intersections.

Auditor General Points Out Discrepancies In Provincial Government Service

NB Power did not adequately address the risks posed by the refurbishment of the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant even though it has a rigorous oversight process in place, according to the latest annual report from the auditor general.

Kim MacPherson says even though the decision making process took four-and-a-half years from 2001 to 2005, as late as the spring of 2005, there was still substantial uncertainty about what should be done to meet future provincial electricity needs.

She warns the province has a structural deficit where expenses exceed revenues and if this continues, buildings, roads and bridges may not be maintained and renewed as they should be.

MacPherson notes, in general, to correct a structural deficit, programs and services need to be reduced, revenues need to be increased, or some combination of the two needs to occur.

According to her report, the money owed the provincial government more than doubled between 2002 and 2012, increasing to $2.6 billion from $1.1 billion.

Union Claims Shared Risk Model Is Illegal

The Canadian Union of Pulbic Employees has filed a complaint with the Labour and Employment Board claiming the legislated changes to the provincial pension plan are illegal.

CUPE New Brunswick President Danny Légère says under the Public Service Labour Relations Act, once a notice to bargain is made, the terms and conditions of employment must remain in place until a new contract agreement is reached or a deadlock in negotiations is declared. 

CUPE argues the switch to the shared risk model is a violation of that.

UNB Professors Concerned About Quality Of Education

UNB has to refocus on the classroom and making sure students at the university get the best education they can. 

 That, from Dr. Miriam Jones, President of the Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers. She says programs for people who retire aren't being replaced--and money is going anywhere but into the core mission of the university.

The union is threatening strike action in the new year if a new contract agreement is not reached with the university.

City Legions Talking Amalgamation

The legions in Saint John are talking about a possible amalgamation. 

Only two of the 5 legions in Saint John have buildings, they are Branch 69 on the west side and Branch 53 on the east side.

District Commander Larry Lynch tells CHSJ News says the legions members have been declining in recent years.

He says in 2006 they had about 1700 legion members and at the end of 2012 they had about 1100.

Lynch says they plan to have further discussions in the new year about merging into one.

Gas Prices Increase

You'll have to pay more for gas after the weekly setting. 

The price of self serve regular around town has gone up from $1.25.2 a litre to $1.26.5. 

Diesel is also more expensive as it increases from $1.42 a litre to $1.43.8 in the city.

UNB Teachers Vote For Strike Mandate

UNB Teachers in Saint John, Fredericton, Moncton and Bathurst voting for a strong strike mandate.

90 per cent of the members on the four campuses voted to strike.

Spokesperson Miriam Jones says over 99 per cent of eligible members voted.

She says its clear the academic staff feel strongly that institution needs to change direction.

She hopes the strong strike mandate will convince our employer that their members are serious about defending UNB's reputation as a credible, competitive, and comprehensive university.