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Monday, February 3, 2014

DOT Issues Safety Warning

The Department of Transportation issuing a safety warning about snowmobiles near the Gagetown ferry.

The ferry operates year round on the St. John River between Gagetown and Lower Jemseg.

Snowmobilers are asked not to enter the terminal area due to the risk of open water, striking the ferry cable or interfering with ferry operations.

Low-Income Homeowners Could Qualify For Renovations

Shocked by your heating bill this winter? If you're barely able to cover it, you could qualify for some help from Efficiency NB in the coming months.

A new program subsidizes home renovations to bring down monthly heating costs--which could save as much as $1,200 annually. About 100 homes in need of major upgrades will be finished this fiscal year and another 300 homes next year.

If you're interested in the program, call Efficiency NB at 1-866-643-8833.

PM Appoints Weston to Atlantic Caucus Chair

Saint John MP Rodney Weston is the chair of the Atlantic caucus.

Weston says he is pleased and humbled by the confidence the Prime Minister has shown in him by giving him this role.

The duties include advancing the issues and concerns of Atlantic Canadians, setting the agenda for weekly meetings, working with Ministers and helping to strengthen the voice of the Atlantic MP's to the National caucus.

Steeves & Jardine Will Be Honored On April 2nd

A well known community volunteer is the 2014 Red Triangle Award winner.

Daryl Steeves is a self-described true Saint Johner who was born here, grew up here and went to school here.

He says we don't need to apologize to anybody in the world adding we have everything we need for a great quality of life but he says we can all contribute to maintaining it and making it even better.

Danny Jardine is the 2014 Leader to Watch known for his participation with countless groups but he tells CHSJ News he is drawn to organizations that help fight poverty.

He says that's why he's a big fan of the Strong Kids campaign because it allows kids that might not otherwise get the chance to take part.

Both Steeves and Jardine work for Horizon Health and they will get their awards on April 2nd at the Delta.

BREAKING: East Side Call Centre Cuts Jobs

Sitel is cutting 50 jobs from its Saint John operation on the east side.

A news release says the cuts at the call centre in the Loch Lomond Mall are necessary due to the conclusion of one client project.

Sitel has given their staff four weeks notice and they are trying to find places for some of those workers where they can.

The job losses kick in between February 26th and April 1st.

Sitel's Cynthia Boulter says this reduction is due to the changing business needs of one client and does not reflect on the quality of service provided by the Saint John associates.

UPDATE: Vet Clinic To Foster Q-Tip the Dog

Q-Tip the dog is going to be ok.

Melody McElman tells CHSJ News he was hit by car last month on the Westfield road suffering a fractured pelvis but he did not require surgery.

She tells us the type of fracture that he has will mend.

McElman tells us this morning that Dr. Kathy Adams of the Fairvale Animal Hospital has agreed to take Q-Tip for fostering and rehabilitation.

Common Councillor Wants City Hall To Be Moved

The city's finances are in good shape. That word coming from Common Councillor David Merrithew who chairs the city's Finance Committee but ways are still being sought to save money.

Common Councillor John MacKenzie tells CHSJ News a lot of money could be saved if City Hall were moved to a building that's owned by the city. He says the city is paying 140 thousand dollars a month rent which amounts to 1.7 million dollars a year and that could be better spent.

MacKenzie, who's looking for an update from City Manager Pat Woods, says there's the City Market which has three floors or the old Synagogue building on Carleton Street which likely could be bought cheap and renovated.

Stop The New Brunswick Debt Clock Released

Just prior to the unveiling tomorrow of the provincial budget by Finance Minister Blaine Higgs, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has released its Stop the New Brunswick Debt Clock. 

The Federation's Atlantic Director is Kevin Lacey who tells CHSJ News the provincial government can't afford any big pre-election spending spree. He says the provincial debt is rising by 600 million dollars a year which comes to 1.6 million dollars a day or nearly 11 hundred dollars an hour.

Lacey says the province is broke and he would like to see the Alward Government's plan to get a balanced budget, if there is one.


Plan To Phase Out Door-To-Door Delivery Causing Concerns

Canada Post's plan to phase out door-to-door mail delivery is stirring controversy across the country, with the Port City being no exception. 

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers hosting a town hall meeting on the East side over the weekend to talk about the issue, and Common Councillor John MacKenzie was in attendance.  

He tells CHSJ News people seem to be unclear about how it's going to work, and it's putting a lot of fear out there. He says there were quite a few people with disabilities at the meeting who are very worried about the change. 

Over the next five years, the one third of Canadian households that get their mail at the door will be converted to community mailboxes. Canada Post says this will save them a significant amount of money. The elimination of door-to-door delivery is part of a five-point action plan announced in early December. 

The company says the plan will bring the system back to financial sustainability by 2019.

It's Back To Normal At University After Strike

It's back to class this morning for more than 9 thousand students at U-N-B in Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton following the strike by university professors that got underway three weeks ago. 

The university plans to make up for the time that was lost during the walkout by extending the school year to April 17th with exams taking place from April 22nd to the 30th. 

Reading week will be cancelled, as well, so classes can be held.

Professors at Mount Allison University remain on strike.

Provincial NDP Launches Campaign For Provincial Election

The Provincial NDP launching its campaign for September's provincial election with the release of a video that claims there's basically not a dime's worth of difference between the governing Conservatives and opposition Liberals. 

Provincial NDP leader Dominic Cardy tells CHSJ News neither of the old line parties are offering up any new ideas to rejuvenate the province with more and more people being aware of that.

Cardy also points to the NDP's standing in the latest public opinion polls along with attracting former high level Liberals and Conservatives who want change.

He predicts for the first time in the province's history, there will be a three way race.

Chair Of City's Finance Committee Concerned Over Wages And Benefits

Now that it appears the notion of switching over to the RCMP for policing in Saint John appears to be dead in the water, Common Councillor Donna Reardon wants to hear from the Police Commission on how much City Police cost and what services that pays for. 

Councillor David Merrithew chairs the city's Finance Committee. He tells CHSJ News the trend is unsustainable when you have stagnant population growth in the city.

Merrithew also points out the cost of living from 2004 to 2014 has gone up by 18 per cent but wages for city firefighters in that same time period have gone up by 50 per cent.

As an example, Merrithew says a proposal is coming up soon to spend 1.3 or 1.4 million dollars on paving and pothole repair but that will be put in the capital budget which is essentially means putting the cost on the city's credit card.