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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Saint John Airport Projects Modest Growth this year

(The President and C-E-O of Saint John Airport Bernard Leblanc)
                      (Photo by Brian McLain)

2009 was still a very good year for Saint John Airport in spite of a 9 per cent drop in the number of passengers. The airport still earned a profit of 900 thousand dollars with Airport President and C-E-O Bernie Leblanc predicting modest growth in passenger numbers this year. There were also discussions with major airlines in Canada and the U.S. about expanding or creating new flights but nothing has come to fruition. Leblanc concedes 2009 was not a good year to be negotiating new routes with the major airlines which want guarantees that any new service will be profitable. The number one American destination for Saint Johnners is Las Vegas but the numbers are nowhere high enough to warrant a direct flight. The Airport is projecting passenger numbers will rise from over 222 thousand last year to more than 242 thousand in 2014.

ProvinciaL Energy Minister Jack Keir Reaffirmed For Re-election Bid

(Provincial Energy Minister Jack Keir)

Provincial Energy Minister Jack Keir has been reaffirmed to run again in Fundy-River Valley. Keir tells CHSJ News he will campaign like he did the first time around as the underdog taking nothing for granted.
Keir says he will be reminding voters the last time the Conservatives were in power, the Saint John area was virtually ignored. Retired heart surgeon Dr. Jim Parrot is running for the Conservatives. As for criticism from the Conservatives about the impending appointment of a public engagement minister, Keir says that's what the opposition's job is but he knows every nook and cranny of his own riding.

Cooke Aquaculture Expands

As the stock markets take a hit, there is some good news in the business world.

Cooke Aquaculture has purchased the processing facility of Ocean Choice International in Newfoundland.

Ocean Choice says the decision to sell the facility was made because of the declining raw material base to support the operation.

Officials with Cooke Aquaculture says it will be business as usual at the processing plant on the rock and no word on what this means for the people already working there.

The deal is expected to be finalized near the end of next month.

An About Face From Premier Graham

(Premier Shawn Graham)
        (File Photo)

Something has been lost in the translation concerning yesterdays announcement by Premier Graham.

The Liberal leader said he was creating a new cabinet post, the Minister for Public Engagement but english reporters lost an important piece of the puzzle.

While speaking to a French reporter, Graham said it wouldn't create a new cabinet position but a re-alignment of the cabinet will take place.

There are currently three vacant cabinet posts to fill and a Liberal spokes-person tells CHSJ News, when the re-alignment is rolled out, a minister will be designated the new duties.

Play-Off Fever is Running Wild in Saint John

(Adam Binns, right, is First in Line for Game Five Tickets)
                  (Photo by Jim Hennessy)

Play-off fever is alive well in Saint John.

Over 100 people lined up at Harbour Station hours before the box office opened this morning to lock up their tickets for Game Five of the Presidents Cup Final on Saturday.

In 31 minutes, all tickets were gone, a new record for hockey at the Station.

Adam Binns was first in line because he showed up at five this morning and tells CHSJ News, winning Game Three was vital.

Binns says he was able to get in line so early because there is no school today and is confident they can win game four tomorrow night in Moncton.


(Fans Make a Run for the Glass When Tickets Go on Sale)
                  (Photo by Jim Hennessy)

Saint John High Tech Company Expanding

(Business New Brunswick Minister Victor Boudreau)
               (File Photo)

The provincial government is giving a Saint John company 1.2 million dollars in payroll rebates to almost double its workforce.

That announcement from Business New Brunswick Minister Victor Boudreau. Computer Generated Solutions on Broadview Avenue in the South End is expanding to develop new state of the art technology and create virtual trade shows over the internet so you don't have to be saddled with the travel and expense of going to them.

Company President and C-E-O Phil Friedman says 79 employees will be added to the 83 already in place and this will likely take place over the next year and a half even though the agreement with the province stipulates it be done over five years.

Provincial Energy Minister Jack Keir says Friedman first became aware of Saint John a dozen years ago when he visited on a cruise ship and was quite taken with the city.

Boudreau says between September of 2006 and October of 2009, the province recorded employment growth of over 5 per cent which was the best in the country.

Completion Of Point Lepreau Refurbishment Uncertain

(Provincial Energy Minister Jack Keir)
                (File Photo)

With word the target date of completing the Point Lepreau refurbishment by the fall of next year is being called ""unrealistic"", Energy Minister Jack Keir is speaking out on the subject. He says technical issues continue to pop up on site with no solutions.
The cost of replacement power during the refurbishment is one million dollar per day and AECL admits they didn't do enough prep work at the start to over-come these problems. Keir is quick to point out the three per cent rate hike from NB Power set to be reviewed by the Energy and Utilities Board next month has nothing to do with the cost overruns of the refurbishment. Another rate hike of 3 per cent is expected when the nuclear plant is back on line.

Stabbing In Old North End

Some sort of altercation in the old North End yesterday afternoon resulted in one person being stabbed in the leg. City Police say several young people were involved in the fracas at Victoria and Bridge Streets around 4:00. No arrests have been made as the investigation continues.

Gas Prices Rise

Gas is going to cost you more today when you go to the pumps after the weekly setting. Self serve regular is being sold around town for just over $1.04 a litre while diesel is just above $1.07. Heating oil is also more expensive, rising by 2 cents a litre to 94.1 and the max for propane is at an even $1.03.