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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

UNBSJ Doesn't Have Position On Energy Future

Representatives from UNBSJ’s Saint John College Energy Fundamentals Program presented to common council at its most recent meeting on the opportunities associated with shale gas development in the province.

CHSJ News asked UNB admin Shelley Rinehart about the university's position on shale gas, given that private companies have helped fund the energy program. Rinehart responded it's not unusual for a university to have private partners, and it doesn't buy anything except for the ability to boast we're on the cutting edge of programs of this kind.

Rinehart says that's the point of the program isn't to sell any one option, but to encourage an informed debate about all energy options.

Liberals Want Daycare Inspection Records Made Public

The Opposition Liberals are calling on the Alward government to make the inspection records of public daycares public. Liberal Leader Brian Gallant says this government is perceived to be one of the least transparent in recent history, and often when information is requested it either isn't provided or heavily redacted.

Gallant stated in the provincial legislature, we have a process in place to publicize restaurant inspections, so we should have the same for facilities that care for kids. Early Childhood Development Minister Marie-Claude Blaise responded by saying the information is already available on a need-to-know basis and the government is working on it with stakeholders.

Gallant says he doesn't see why any sensitive or confidential information could be blacked out, and the reports posted online.

Alward Says Gallant Is Not Being Honest

He's not honest with the people of New Brunswick.

Premier David Alward is responding to word that Liberal leader Brian Gallant is saying his message in Saint John on shale gas was misrepresented in the media.

Alward says Gallant is playing politics adding it does a huge disservice to the province and the people of New Brunswick deserve more from the leader of the opposition.

Alward describes shale gas as a huge opportunity with the potential for a $20 billion dollar investment in the province.

Gallant said the Liberal party advocates pressing pause on the industry right now until we know about its impact on water and the environment.

Council Will Keep Putting Pressure On Gov't To Deal With Deer

The three councils in the Kennebecasis Valley getting the silent treatment from the province on the growing issue of deer.

Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop tells CHSJ News it's a provincial, not municipal matter and they've done all they can at this point, supplying the government with all the data they could gather from citizens and police. He says people in the valley are getting very upset and frustrated at the inaction by the province.

Rothesay passing a motion at a council meeting to write a letter to the provincial Minister of Health expressing their concern and asking the provincial government to take action. Bishop says at this point bringing in bow-hunters to cull the deer is an option that really needs to be considered.

Lyme disease and attracting coyotes aren't the only problems deer pose. Last August, council was shocked to hear deer had caused over 700 car crashes from the beginning of 2013 up to that point.

Bell Aliant To Build $25M Data Centre

The Premier calls it a good news announcement.   

Bell Aliant announcing a 25 million dollar data centre will be built in Millidgeville creating 50 jobs between construction and operation.

Bell Aliant CEO Karen Sheriff says businesses needs reliable and secure data services and the company is making the infrastructure changes to meet that need.

She explains the concept of big data saying most companies have large data sets with increasing numbers of customers and internal data.

When asked when the facility will be built, Sheriff said soon.

 The new data centre will go up on land the company already owns.

The province is contributing $5 million dollars to the project.

Drivers Being Asked To Check Their Vehicles For Thefts

City Police asking drivers who were parked in the uptown to check their vehicles to see if anything has been stolen. 

This follows a car that was parked on Union Street near Dorchester being rifled through. 

Items were stolen but CHSJ news has been told they were later recovered. 

A man was seen leaving the area.

Worry Over Future Role Of Volunteer Firefighters

Volunteers are the cornerstone of KV Fire---that message being delivered to Rothesay Council from the Kennebecasis Valley Firefighters Association, a group concerned about what role volunteer firefighters will have in the future. 

Vice-President Matthew McQuade says KV Fire has shown little to no interest in developing or using volunteers and the department stopped recruiting and actively training new members to be volunteer firefighters three years ago.
McQuade pointing out eliminating the volunteer program will have far-reaching consequences including reducing the flexibility of the department and reducing the number of available personnel for large-scale incidents. 

He says there are currently about 20 volunteer firefighters on the roster but that number is very fluid.

Who Would Clean Up After Shale Gas Blowout, And Other Questions

Opponents of fracking have an outdated idea of what it actually means: that, from Stantec VP John Adams at common council, hoping to dispel what he calls common myths about the process of fracking and shale gas in general.

Adams says shale gas could represent a huge economic boost for this region: for one, companies need 420 people working in 150 different jobs to complete and produce gas at each well. If you have 200 wells per year, Adams stated, that could represent as many 2,600 direct jobs per year.

Nonetheless, Adams admitted he's been in the oil and gas industry for decades and he's seen some large companies do horrific things. He cited the example of Nigeria, in which pools of oil were simple left standing on the ground, as one region in which the actions of certain corporations were "horrific". That being said, Adams claimed companies are currently "a thousand times better than they were 30 years ago" and are now getting their act together.

Further, Adams says it's important to get the major oil and gas players on board because if there is a blow-out and something goes wrong, you want to have someone with deep pockets to clean it up and not the taxpayers.