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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chair Of NB Power Board Defends Hiring Of Consultant

The Chair of the Board for NB Power is sticking up for a recent decision by the CEO that has drawn some political fire.

NB Power has hired Alexander Proudfoot, an international consulting firm with ties to former conservative Premier Bernard Lord, to do an operational review on the company.

Liberal Donald Arseneault says the move is a favour for a political friend of Premier David Alward.

Chair Ed Barrett says since the  province has mandated NB Power in January to operate itself like a business and Alexander Proudfoot has great experience in finding operational efficiencies, the board stands behind the CEO's decison.

Finance Minister Higgs Finds Potential Lawsuit Unfortunate

The Province's Finance Minister says you can't re-shuffle the deck and give savings from one department to another. Blaine Higgs responding to a call from the Opposition Liberals to give $60 million in savings from the Department of Transportation to scale back cuts to education.
In response to a CHSJ News question, Higgs tells us he is disappointed to hear the province's Acadian society is considering legal action over the cuts to education.

He says he finds it unfortunate that is the line of defence saying these groups decide to sue the government instead of working to be better than they are today. Higgs says spending more money is not the answer but, spending it in a more efficient manner is how things will change.

19-Year Old Pleads Not Guilty to Robbery Charges

19 year old Anthony John Beckingham pleading not guilt to several charges in connection with an armed robbery that occurred on Sunday night.

He's facing two charges of robbery, assault causing bodily harm and uttering a threat.

Beckingham was arrested yesterday after an investigation by the city's Major Crime Unit.

He will be in provincial court on June 27th.

Man Charged In Stabbing Will Argue Self-Defence

A 31-year-old Charlotte Street man will argue self-defence for charges of attempted murder when he goes to trial in September. Nicholas Wayne Welsh earlier pleaded not guilty to stabbing a 53 year-old-man in the neck.

The man was found bleeding near the corner of Duke and Charlotte Street on May 19th.

Welsh also faces charges for failing to report his change of address to the Sex Offenders Registry. He has been sent back to jail until a three day trial scheduled to start September 13th.

Trio In Court For Using Funny Money

3 Sussex area people pleading guilty to passing counterfeit 100 dollar bills March 9th at stores on the east side after being identified by surveillance photos at McAllister Place Mall.

24 year old Cory Duncan, 20 year old Kerry Ann Lewis and Cody Bartholot Myers, also in his early twenties, will be sentenced July 28th. There are related charges to be laid in Sussex.

The court was told Duncan got the idea from a movie he saw on TV. The three have started paying restitution.

Port Authority To Be More Inclusive

President and CEO of the Saint John Port Authority Jim Quinn says one of the strategies the port is taking is to reconnect with the community.

He says the port is a major asset to both the city's economic engine as well as uptown development  -- the Port Authority wants to break down any negative pre-conceived notions by speaking to the public about its future plans and development.

He says with all the work going into diversifying the working port, such a building a small craft harbour on the city's west side, it's prudent to engage the community.

Liason Suggested For Enterprise Saint John

The city's economic task force recommending a new position is created for someone to act as a liaison between Common Council and Enterprise Saint John. 

The suggestion is one of four recommendations to help the two bodies align their priorities and improve communication. 

Councillor Donnie Snook says he doesn't want to make a decision until he knows what it's going to cost the city.  He says anytime you add a new position it's going to cost the city money.

Councillor Gary Sullivan says the city put the task force together for a reason, and if everyone says a new position is needed than that's what council should do.

Description Of Bank Robber Released

City Police have released a more detailed description of the suspect they're looking for in the robbery yesterday afternoon of the Scotiabank in the north end.
He's described as being white, in his thirties, approximately five feet 8 to 5 feet 10 inches tall, between 150 and 160 pounds, wearing a black hoodie, ball cap, sunglasses and blue jeans.
He got away on a bicycle with an undisclosed amount of money. Police say he gave the impression of having a weapon without showing anything.

The Major Crime Unit is looking for your help. If you have any information regarding this incident, call 648-3333 or Crime stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Picket Lines Up Outside Airport And Millidgeville Call Centre

Air Canada workers in Saint John, members of the Canadian Autoworkers Union, were out early walking the picket lines outside the airline's call centre in Millidgeville and at the entrance to the airport.

The picket captain in Millidgeville Aaron Van Wart tells CHSJ News the workers have given up alot of concessions over the years but enough is enough when you consider Air Canada's C-E-O will be getting a 300 thousand dollar pension and just received a 4 and a half million dollar bonus.

Van Wart described the mood on the picket line as positive although they didn't want to strike.

Air Canada managers are helping passengers cope with the inconvenience of a strike by customer service and sales agents. Minor delays are reported across the country. The union points out Tuesday is the lightest travel day of the week.

Passengers are being advised to check in online and take less luggage if they don't want to be held up.

CUPW Workers Picket On Rothesay Avenue

About 100 Canada Post letter carriers walking the picket line in front of the Rothesay Avenue offices today.
CUPW spokesperson Wally Moore tells CHSJ News after the company scaled back mail delivery to three days a week, when workers came in today they were told there was no work for them.

Moore says they are locked out based on a decision by the national arm of the Canadian Union Of Postal Workers. Moore claims there are over 600,000 peices of mail in the Saint John office that will not start moving until tomorrow. He adds rotating walkouts could still impact this city starting this week.

North End Bank Robbed

The Scotiabank in the North End was held up yesterday afternoon by a robber who then escaped on a bicycle.

The robbery, around 2:00, is being investigated by the Major Crime Unit.

Police say the robber is described as between 35 and 45 years of age and about 5 feet 8 inches tall.

Picketer Struck At Airport

Air Canada's customer-service representatives, including those who work at the call centre in Millidgeville are out on strike.

A strike began a minute after midnight eastern time after talks broke off between the airline and the union representing its 38-hundred customer service agents and other airport workers.

Meantime, one of the picketers was struck by a vehicle at the entrance to Saint John Airport early this morning suffering minor injuries.

The head of the Canadian Auto Workers union says pensions and wages were key sticking points.

But Ken Lewenza says while his last-minute effort to strike a deal was rejected, he'll keep pushing.

Air Canada expects to continue operating a full flight schedule, with 17-hundred managers stepping in at Air Canada's counters and call centres.

Enterprise Saint John Makes Its Case To Common Council

Common Council getting a performance report from Enterprise Saint John showing how much bang the city is getting getting for it's buck.

 Chair Tony Gogan says for every dollar the city contributed to Enterprise Saint John in 2010, it got roughly 6.5 dollars back in property taxes.

Councillor Peter McGuire says Common Council will now be able to measure the effectiveness of the agency from one year to another.

Councillor Patty Higgins says she's not sure the city isn't still getting the short end of the stick because the outlying municipalites also served by E-S-J are getting even more bang for their bucks.

On the other hand, Councillor Gary Sullivan says the numbers are proof investing in Enterprise Saint John is not a waste of money.

The report looked at how many people had been employed in Saint John in the last 3 years because of the efforts of Enterprise Saint John.

Draft Of City's New Municipal Plan Presented To Council

With Saint John's draft municipal plan up for public review, the focus is on developing the city's urban core.

Jacqueline Hamilton with Plan SJ says so far, local developers have cautiously supported the plan.

Hamilton says the draft plan encourages development that uses existing infrastructure as opposed to development on the edge of the city and there are still provisions in place to prevent an influx of high-rise buildings.

The plan calls for high quality design that's active at street level, affordable housing in all areas of the city and balanced transportation options like public transit.

The public will get a chance to see it tomorrow at Saint John High beginning at 5:30 pm.

Environmental Protection Around Spruce Lake Industrial Park

You may think that big industry and an environment group teaming up is pipe dream but that's a reality for Saint John Industrial Parks Limited.

It's teaming up with consulting firm Boreal Environment to document all ecologically sensitive areas in the Spruce Lake Industrial Park in order to prevent future development from harming watercourses and rare habitat.

The General Manager of Saint John Industrial Parks Brian Irving tells CHSJ News they want to prove that they're serious about protecting the environment and that you can still turn a buck while being environmentally conscious.

Irving goes on to say Saint John benefits a lot from protected wet lands and waterways as they prevent flooding.