Linked Header

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Graham Says City Dynamic And On The Move




(Premier Shawn Graham - file photo)

Premier Shawn Graham says the city's energy hub is already paying economic dividends -- Graham says housing starts are on the increase over the past two years -- and -- other construction numbers are also on the upswing with over 250-million invested in non-residential construction in the past two years.
And he says there are more signs of growing economic confidence locally -- the labour force is topping 71-thousand workers -- up about three thousand over the past couple of months.
Graham says the numbers prove Saint John is a dynamic city on the move -- and -- he says "this is just the beginning."


Forum For West Siders on Retail Stores



West Siders are getting the opportunity to rub elbows with developers and voice their concerns on business matters in the west side.
A 3 hour presentation will be held on May 28th, featuring presentations on what businesses are popping up on the west side, and maybe even what the future holds.
Enterprise Saint John spokesperson Jay Reid tells CHSJ News, they want residents to tell developers what they want.

The forum is being held at the Legion on Wilson Street staring at 6 o'clock.

Ottawa Remains Firm In LNG Opposition




(Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson - file photo)

Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson says Ottawa is still committed to preventing liquefied natural gas tankers from sailing through Head Harbour passage.
The tankers must manoeuvre through the tricky waters on their way to proposed L-N-G terminals in nearby Maine -- and -- Thompson says his government will continue to stand up for the people and the environment.
And Thompson doesn't think it will have an impact on relations with Obama administration -- he says we are exercising our right as a sovereign nation over internal Canadian waters and there's no disputing that.

City Awards Construction Contract for New Arena Floors



It won't be long now before the Lord Beaverbrook and Charles Gorman Arenas get new floors.
The city has awarded a contract to replace the concrete floor slabs and brine systems to Castle Rock Construction Services.

The cost comes in at just under 600 thousand dollars--well below the engineers estimate of 750 thousand dollars.

City to Ask Local MLAs for Help with Pension Plan Changes



The mayor is sending a letter to three local MLAs to ask if they would be interested in bringing a private members bill before the legislature for changes to the civic pension plan. Trevor Holder, Able Leblanc and Roly MacIntyre are the only local MLAs that can bring the private members bill before the legislature because they are not members of the cabinet.

Common council also wants to find out how the process to change legislation works and what the MLAs' expectations would be on the matter. The city is hoping to make dramatic changes to the troubled pension plan in order to save up to 70 million dollars. The Canadian Union of Public Employees is against the proposed changes.

Council Considers Changing Term of Deputy Mayor Position



Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase is at risk of losing his position. City council is exploring the idea of changing the length of term for the Deputy Mayor. Councilor Carl Killen says he wants the councilor at large with the most votes to serve only one year as deputy and the ward councilors with the most votes to serve 9 months each. He says it has nothing to do with a lack of faith in Chase.

Councilor Bill Farren says the current system seems to be working. City Solicitor John Nugent says making such a change may require an amendment to the procedural by-law. He will report back to council with ways a change of this type could happen by next election.

Premier Says Lepreau 2 Close To Site Permit Application




(Point Lepreau nuclear generating station - photo courtesy NB Power)

Premier Graham says a consortium of nuclear related companies is close to finalizing agreements with investors for a second reactor at Point Lepreau.
During a speech to a national conference of energy regulators here in the city -- Graham also says the consortium is close to an agreement with N-B Power to operate the reactor.
And -- he expects an application for site licensing to be filed with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission soon.

Department at St. Joes Brings home the Hardware



The Breast Health Program at St. Joseph's Hospital is the proud winner of a 2009 KIRA Award. It recognizes advancements in the information technology sector and the program won the award for Technological Advancement and Innovation in the public sector. Case Manager Wendy Cyr tells CHSJ News, the award is for the extensive database on wait times for breast cancer patients.

Cyr says she hopes winning the award will cause other cancer programs to take a look at the database and hopefully it becomes a model for others in the province.


Latest on Homicide in Oromocto



A brief court appearance yesterday for a 16-year old boy charged with manslaughter in the death of 43-year Michael Thurber. The case has been adjourned until the 8th of next month when the teenager can enter a plea. It was back on April.5th, Thurber's body was found in an Oromocto apartment building.

20-year old Brian Dobson is due to go back before the judge on the 19th to enter a plea on charges of accessory after the fact of murder and intimidation. 

More Talk of a Second Reactor



Will there be a second nuclear reactor constructed at Point Lepreau? That is the question on the mind of many but no concrete answer at this point. Provincial officials continue their talks with private sector investors, NB Power and Atomic Energy of Canada limited about the possibility of constructing the facility. Energy Minister Jack Keir tells CHSJ News, there has been nothing but positive feedback on the proposal and the details of who is responsible and liable for what and who is going to take the risks.

Just a few months ago.....Premier Graham told our news-room that despite the sluggish economic environment, potential markets remain strong for this type of proposal.


New Homes for Rothesay Meet with Protest



Darling Construction is one vote away from getting approval for a new sub-division called Rothesay Estates. It's near Isaac on Kaitlyn Street and would see 22 semi-detached single homes constructed. This is the same property where Darling proposed to help the Town build a new arena just months ago. Not everyone is happy with the proposal including Dave Eldridge who lives at 17 ISaac Street. He tells CHSJ News, the third and final vote won't take place until next month which gives them time to lobby councilors.

Bob Darling says the configuration of the street will not change at all. Third and final reading to amend the property will happen at the next council meeting on June.10th.


Premier Reacts to Protest



A smiling Premier Graham says he will accept an honorary degree from UNB this month despite objections from some in the university community. Robert Whitney, is a professor at UNB Saint John and says it doesn't make sense because of Graham's ``stated objectives'' around certain issues. The Graham government was forced by widespread protests to back away from changes recommended in a controversial report. Premier Graham says being in public life means not everyone shares your views.

Graham says access to post-secondary education and debt load have been dealt with because of these reforms.

Premier Graham Coming to St. Stephen



Provincial officials will pay a visit to the border town this morning bearing gifts. Premier Graham will be joined by South-West MP and Minister of Veterans Affairs Greg Thompson and Mayor Jed Purcell for what is being called an infrastructure announcement.

Things get started at 9:30am in the Town Square. 

Enbridge Gas Likes the Look of Rothesay



Rothesay is on the radar of Enbridge Gas. The company has approached town officials to get their feelings about expanding the service into the Kennebecasis Valley. Councilors Shea and Young have voted against supporting the proposal citing the company has a reputation of tearing up roads and sidewalks and not returning them to their original state. Mayor Bill Bishop tells CHSJ News, they would be as stringent as possible concerning any tearing up and replacing of infrastructure.

When asked if he thinks there is a need for the service with-in his town, Mayor Bishop doesn't think so and is quick to point out, the company won't come if there isn't a market for it's service. 

City Fire Chief to Perform Cost-Cutting Review



The city manager has been directed to ask the fire chief to conduct a comprehensive review of Saint John's Fire Protective Services. Common council passed councilor Chris Titus' motion during last night's open meeting. Fire and police services account for nearly 35 per cent of the city's overall operating budget --and-- Titus says the cost per capita for Saint John's fire services is the highest in the province.

The review will look at restructuring, consolidation, volunteer firefighters and other options to reduce costs with the least consequences. The Fire Chief is asked to finish the report by  September.

Peel Plaza Costs Already Nearing $8 Million



Common council has taken another baby step forward in the progress of the Peel Plaza project. Council has unanimously passed a motion expressing confidence in city staff to deliver the peel plaza project in a prudent and timely manner. This despite continued reservations by Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase who says the design of the police headquarters is still too elaborate and expensive.

The city has spent nearly 8 million dollars on the project so far over the past ten years. And the entire project, including the provincial court building, is expected to exceed 100 million dollars. Meanwhile, Councilor Chris Titus says provincial officials have confirmed they will be building the court house on the former YM-YWCA site.