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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

City Council Reviews Growth & Community Development Dept Budget

The Growth and Community Development department painting a bleak picture for kids recreation in the city if their budget doesn't get a boost over the next couple years.

Commissioner Jacqueline Hamilton says if the budget is frozen the neighbourhood planning program could be delayed to at least 2017, there could be big cuts to playground programs and the Somerset Community Centre could close, and more.

Mayor Mel Norton says it's clear this department is an important area for council and they're seeing a return on investment. He says building permits in the first quarter of 2014 are 45-million while all of last year was about $85-million.

Hamilton says to maintain the service level over the next couple of years there would need to be a 5-percent budget increase over 2014. The presentation is part of a sustainable services review by the city.

Make Your Mental Health A Priority This Week

The first week of May is Mental Health Week across Canada.

This year, the association is focusing on women's mental health and mental illness.  Over the last three years, the government has invested $4.8 million to improve mental-health services, reduce the stigma of mental illness and improve the well-being of New Brunswickers.

The province encourages all New Brunswickers to make their mental well-being  a priority this week and throughout the year.

Fredericton To Introduce Crime Mapping

Starting Thursday, you'll be able to see exactly where crime has been reported in our provincial capital.

The Fredericton Police Force will be launching a website to map robbery, arson, break & enter, property damage, car thefts, theft from cars, and general theft.

Saint John already has a Crime Mapping service, available to view 

Teen Arrested With Knife And Wooden Club

A 19 year old has a court date after brandishing a knife in an afternoon altercation on Princess Street.

At 4:30pm yesterday, police got the call about a man armed with a knife threatening people at a home in the South End. The teen was tracked down off Orange Street, and when he was arrested he had a steak knife tucked down his pants and a wooden club up his sleeve.

He has a court date later today on weapons charged and breaking a court order to keep the peace.

As well, a break and enter was reported yesterday afternoon on King Street. Several offices were rummaged through and a small amount of cash was taken.

Crescent Valley Mom Says Her Home Has Been Destroyed

A 29-year-old single mom who lives in Crescent Valley says her home has been destroyed by vandals--and neither the housing board or the police have helped her find a solution.

Dezerai Zaid Jardana tells CHSJ News three windows were smashed, her tires slashed, and her car window broken
at her home on Coronation Court over Friday and Saturday. Now the windows of her home are boarded up, which she says could be extremely dangerous in the event of a fire.

Jardana, who is a student at UNB, says she and her family have been losing sleep since the incidents happened. According to her, disputes with various neighbours escalated into vandalism--and although one woman has been charged, the harassment has continued.

She says she wants to raise awareness of the situation for families in the boulevards.

Province To Partner With VON on FAS Centre

The Victorian Order of Nurses will operate the provincial fetal alcohol spectrum disorder centre of excellence.

Health Minister Ted Flemming says the VON is a solid partner that has been around for more than 100 years in the province.

The centre of excellence will provide prevention, diagnosis and intervention services with the central office in Moncton and regional program facilitators all over the province.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is an umbrella term used to describe the spectrum of disabilities associated with prenatal exposure to alcohol.

Court Say Pensions Should Be Protected

Imagine starting a job you love in your 20's and working for 50 years? 

That is possible under changes to the Teacher's pension plan that could see them teaching to age 71.

Retired teacher Ivan Court tells CHSJ News its becoming a national issue because the Harper government is looking at shared risk and using our province as an example.

He says Saint John had a pension problem and then the province and now the Feds are supporting the shared risk model and considering it for the country.

Court is not happy about it saying shared risk takes the risk away from the province who sign contracts with unions and then don't want to honour them.

Shale Gas Drilling May Not Be Restricted To Remote Areas

There's a difference of opinion in the Kennebecasis Valley when it comes to shale gas. Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop is in favour while Quispamsis Mayor Murray Driscoll is opposed to shale gas exploration happening within his town but not elsewhere. 

Jim Emberger of the Anti-Shale Gas Alliance tells CHSJ News just because drilling for shale gas may not be taking place in your backyard, doesn't mean you won't be affected because a growing problem is air pollution as well as the threat, as he sees it, to groundwater.

Emberger warns any bylaw passed by a town or city to prevent drilling from taking place within their jurisdictions can be overruled by the province because this has happened elsewhere. He has also seen drilling wells within city limits in both Texas and Alberta.

Human Remains Identified

The remains discovered in a remote area of Odell Park on April 28th have been identified as 31-year old Joshua David Jewett of Fredericton.  

Jewett had been reported missing by his family in early February. 

Fredericton Police say there was no foul play involved.

Province Will Test Your Well Water At No Charge If You Were Flooded

Free well water testing in the aftermath of the recent flooding will be conducted for private well owners who have been affected at no charge. 

Residents will need to supply a property identification number which is found on your property tax bill and should have their damages already registered with Service New Brunswick. 

You're reminded you must wait 10 days after the water has receded before beginning chlorination and sampling.

Prince William Could Become Pedestrian-Only Street In The Near Future

A pilot project to turn Prince William into a temporary pedestrian-only street for festivals, concerts and other uptown events could be coming sooner rather than later. 

Anne McShane of Uptown Saint John speaking to city council saying they want to build on what's happening with the Market Square Boardwalk which is a permanent pedestrian street. 

She says we want to make sure whatever they do works with that and doesn't compete with or cannibalize that.

Councillor Bill Farren raising some concerns about the project since Prince William is being refurbished into the fall and Councillor Shirley McAlary worried about the potential price-tag. Mayor Mel Norton explains he wants to see it in place by this summer, saying in large part it goes back to adding quality of life which will attract people and also says it also drives economic development. 

Council passing a motion to ask City Staff to bring back a report of recommendations.