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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Not A Great Year For SJ's Industrial Parks

It turns out 2013 wasn't exactly a spectacular year for Saint John's Industrial Parks (although really, are industrial parks ever truly 'spectacular'?)

Saint John Industrial Parks General Manager Brian Irving explained to common council they had hoped to see $500,000 in land sales---but they only managed to realize $60,000 of that projected goal due to a deal with the province for 1,100 acres which fell through.

Tax revenue and growth for the industrial parks was $95,000 dollars which was almost on target. 

Currently, Saint John Industrial Parks have $4.4 million in assets--and they're hoping to turn things around on the sales front in 2014.

Major Road Renovation Project Beginning In May

City crews will be spending the summer and part of the fall fixing a stretch of road in the North end. 

A major infrastructure project on Douglas Avenue between Bentley and Clarendon will see parts of the existing watermain and sanitary sewer renewed, a new wastewater lift station and storm sewer installed and some repaving done.

Municipal Engineer for the City of Saint John Kevin O'Brien tells CHSJ News the underground infrastructure in is poor shape and needs to be upgraded. O'Brien says there will be traffic interruptions but it's their goal to maintain at least one lane of traffic so people living in the area still have access and a rep will be on site at all times.

The project is scheduled to start in May and be completed by the end of October.

Power Back On In Sussex

Power has been restored to a few thousand NB Power customers in the Sussex area.

For the latest on outages, click here

Major Outage In The Sussex Area

Crews are patrolling the power lines looking for the cause of a large outage in the Sussex area.

2,300 are without power in Anagance and over 500 in Sussex Corner.

NB Power says they'll provide an update when they have more information. For the latest, click here

Dealing With All The Rain Possibilities

The City letting us know they are preparing to deal with rainfall and snowmelt from the heavy rain and warm temps.

Transportation and Environment services crews are inspecting catch basins in known trouble spots to ensure they are open and ready to handle any run-off.

The City warns the freeze and thaw cycle can cause ice to form on the street and sidewalks and crews will put down sand and salt where its needed.

To the joy of Saint Johners, that same freeze-and-thaw cycle can bring on potholes in our streets.  

Potholes can be reported by calling 658-4455 or email

Discussion Of Regional Fire Service Continues

The idea of a regional fire service seems to have caught the Mayors of the outlying municipalities by surprise. Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop isn't dismissing the idea without first hearing the ins and outs.

He says if it means quality service at no increased cost to the town of Rothesay they'd be willing to discuss it.

Quispamsis Mayor Murray Driscoll tells CHSJ News the fire departments in the region already work together when needed--and we have mutual aid between all the fire departments in the outlying areas.

Both Driscoll and Bishop say there doesn't seem to be any desire among people in the Kennebecasis Valley for a regional fire department that would also encompass Saint John.

Parrot Still Missing In Dieppe

Yet another twist in the ongoing case of a parakeet stolen from a pet store in Dieppe.

RCMP reporting yesterday that two missing sun conure birds, one lost and one stolen, had both been recovered. The Mounties are now saying the lost parakeet who flew the coop back in February, named Cosmo, is still missing.

The parakeet returned by a woman to the pet store however is confirmed to be the stolen bird named Vern. 

Anyone with any information about the theft of Vern being asked to contact Codiac RCMP at 506-857-2400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at or 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Frustration Over Regional Service Commission

Is the Fundy Regional Service Commission just spinning its wheels with a lot of talk but no action? 

Grand Bay-Westfield Mayor Grace Losier, who chairs the Commission, tells CHSJ News the members who make up the Commission just can't keep on holding meetings every month with no change happening because outcomes are needed.

Losier says a recreation study for the region is needed and should have been done earlier.

Mayor Mel Norton says funding of the Commission next year by the city is not up to him but will be made by Common Council on the basis of whether Saint John is getting value for its dollars which is the new direction for all city spending.

Landfill Looking At Being Debt Free

It's taken a long time but the Fundy Regional Service Commission has been told the landfill at Crane Mountain will be debt free by 2018. 

For that to happen, no more money can be borrowed. Being debt free could mean a reduction in the tipping fee or some sort of financial dividend going to the various communities that make up the Fundy Region Solid Waste Commission. 

Recommendations are expected by mid-summer on what will happen with recycling, composting and garbage collection in the future.

3 Dogs Maintain Spots On NHL Scouting Ranks

Three Saint John Sea Dogs are on the list of the NHL Central Scouting Service's final rankings for North American players for this year's NHL Draft.

Olivier LeBlanc, Matthew Highmore and Spencer Smallman were identified earlier this season and have kept their spots in the final ranks.

18 year old Leblanc is at 126 while Highmore who is also 18 is ranked at 155 and the 17 year old Smallman is at 173.

The 2014 NHL Draft starts June 27th in Philadelphia.

Police and Prosecutors Participating In DNA Conference

Sharpening skills and awareness of DNA evidence is the motive behind a conference this week involving City police and the Wyndham Forensic Group.

It will focus on evidence integrity and the likelihood of successful prosecutions given available technologies.

The course hosted at Peel Plaza this week involves police and crown prosecutors.

Literacy Is An Economic Issue

A full room at the Delta to hear TD Bank's chief economist speak about the valule of literacy and numeracy skills in today's workforce.

The call was made to make literacy an issue in coming provincial election campaign.

Craig Alexander says the you don't get a job for life anymore so you need different skills for several employers. He says literacy skills are the great enabler and if you experience unemployment the greater literacy skills you have will strongly limit how long you are out of work.

Learning difficulties that lead to school failure can increase the risk of absenteeism, dropping out, substance abuse, teen pregnancy all of which keep the cycle of poverty or dependency going.

Police Seize MDMA, Marijuana During Traffic Stop

A 20-year-old man being arrested after police found drugs during a traffic stop in St. George. 

RCMP finding a quantity of M-D-M-A, which is often referred to as ecstasy, and a small amount of pot. 

The man will be appearing in court in August.

Big Money To Benefit Heart Patients

The provincial Health Department releasing the letter sent to Dr. Marc Pelletier of the New Brunswick Heart Centre at the Regional Hospital about the large infusion of provincial funding which amounts to 4.5 million dollars. 

2.3 million dollars will be used to renovate the cardiac care unit and 2.2 million for the purchase of an intervention suite at the heart centre.

In the letter, provincial Health Minister Ted Flemming writes that for too long politics have influenced decision-making in the health care system but now the decisions are being made on the basis of what's best for patients. 

He also claims 40 million dollars of savings in healthcare this year alone.

Do Harm-Reduction Initiatives In SJ Actually Work?

Do harm-reduction initiatives like needle exchanges actually make a difference in the lives of drug addicts? 

For the Executive Director of AIDS Saint John Julie Dingwell the answer to that question is a no-brainer. She tells CHSJ News it absolutely does, not only reducing the spread of disease among drug users but acting as a connector.

She says once people start using the service on a regular basis, that's when the organization can really begin working with them "to show them that they matter."
Dingwell speaking as part of a discussion panel at U-N-B Saint John on community policing and harm-reduction in the city.

Fire Chief Makes A Compelling Case

The Saint John Fire Department has been around since 1786---and in a Core Service Review that also included Waterfront Development, Enterprise Saint John, the industrial parks, and Discover Saint John, Fire Chief Kevin Clifford made a compelling case not to cut or freeze the fire budget any further.

Clifford tells CHSJ News he doesn't mind publicly stating he thinks a regional service could be an excellent option.
Clifford says before the major cuts in 2012 there would be 2 or 4 times a year when all the apparatus was tied up: now, that's jumped to 40 or 50 times a year. The cuts in 2012 involved the loss of 16 positions.

He also emphasized that a robust fire service is key to our future as an industrial hub. Council has filed the information for consideration in its next budget deliberations.