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Monday, December 31, 2012

Say Goodbye To 2012

Get your sparkly tops on and grab a noisemaker, it's time to kick 2012 to the curb!

Market Square is the place to be for New Year's Eve  with live entertainment, face painting and more.

The Sea Dogs will be handing our sparklers, hats and horns.

The fireworks display begins at midnight.

For more info, click here

No Overnight Snow Ban Tonight

It's all about pushback today for the City of Saint John and its staff as they try to plow 25 centimetres of snow off the streets.

For those clearing the streets, the storm didn't officially end until 9 o'clock last night.

City Traffic Engineer Tim O'Reilly tells CHSJ News that cars left on city streets yesterday limit the level of service the city can provide.

He says despite the well intentions of residents as to why vehicles are being left on the street but the bottom line is they can't plow the streets when cars are parked there.

Due to the combination of New Year's Eve and it being a changeover night for parking, the City is not putting an overnight snow parking into effect.

O'Reilly would not rule it out as a possibility for later in the week.

How To Unload Your Old Tree

If you need to get rid of your Christmas tree today or this week.   Depending on where you live, there are many options to choose from.
To see the complete list, go to and click news.

In Saint John (January 2 to 12th):

Charles Gorman Arena - University Ave
Peter Murray Arena - Dever Rd
Hilton Belyea Arena - Lowell St
Forest Hills Ball Field - 651 Westmorland Rd
South End, Old Sugar Refinery

Town of Rothesay (January 5th only):

Bill McGuire Centre Parking Lot
East Riverside-Kingshurst Park
Rothesay Arena
Entrance to the Wells Recreation Field

Town of Quispamsis (until January 14th):

Quispamsis Recreation Centre - lower parking lot
Walter Jewett Ball Field - parking lot

Town of Hampton Curbside collection:

Place tree at the curb by 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 2nd. If it is snowing heavily on January 2nd, please hold your tree indoors and place out by 8am on January 3rd so as not to impede the Town's snow removal efforts.

Or you can drop them off  between Jan 1-7 at the Hampton Community Centre beside the leaf bin.

Princess Of Acadia Not Crossing Today

The 9am crossing of the Princess of Acadia from Saint John to Digby is cancelled due to the weather today.

And the 4pm sailing from Digby to Saint John is also cancelled.

The William Pitt 2 Is Still Not Back From Drydock

The commute can be a grind for all of us but when you live in Kingston in the winter, its a different kind of a challenge.   It's made worse this year when the ferry service the residents depend on is diminished.

One of two ferrys at Gondola Point has been in drydock in Nova Scotia since late November.     The William Pitt 2 was supposed to undergo the work in October but it never left the Saint John Port until last month.    The work itself is supposed to take 4 weeks but the ferry is not back yet.

In its place is a much smaller ferry and the other regular ferry, the Gordon Fairweather.

CHSJ News has attempted to contact the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure to see when the William Pitt 2 might be back and we have yet to hear back from them.

Saint John Gets Hammered With Snow

If it felt like you were shoveling forever yesterday, you were.    Environment Canada reports 25 centimetres of snow fell in Saint John yesterday.
Meterologist Jean Marc Couturier tells CHSJ News it was worse outside of the City.

He says in Kings County they received between 35 and 45 centimetres of snow during the day.

Strong wind gusts made clearing driveways a nightmare with constant drifting, Couturier says the winds have already started to die down but the start of the New Year will be very chilly with overnight lows near minus 16.

The Princess of Acadia ferry crossing the Bay of Fundy was cancelled yesterday because of the storm.

City transit buses continued running but not on time. 

The Saint John Airport did experience delays and cancellations but there was a complete shutdown of air traffic at Halifax International Airport.

NDP Sees No Positives With Shale Gas

The provincial leader of the NDP doesn't see any silver linings when it comes to shale gas development.

Dominic Cardy tells CHSJ news the NDP don't see a future of job development and revenue through fracking, claiming it costs too much to start the industry while natural gas has such a low price. Cardy does say the government deserves credit for putting a stronger regulatory system in place this year, but isn't optimistic it will be enforced. 

Cardy doesn't think a new "magic economic bullet" such as shale gas will fix our problems, but our government should rather focus on grassroots projects like supporting small scale businesses.

Premier Confident Government Has Done Homework On Shale Gas

Premier David Alward is confident his government has done its homework on the controversial shale gas issue. And he's also confident the resource can be developed in a prudent manner.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Broken Heater Causing Problems For Walmart

It's the kind of thing you don't want to break when it's so cold out.

The Walmart on the East side had a delay opening today when a heating unit on top of the store malfunctioned. The Saint John Fire Department says the unit released a natural gas odour in the washrooms at the front of the store. Enbridge Gas did check the store and found the problem with the heater. An hour later, the store opened.

Fire crews say the store will bring in a service worker to fix it.

Economy The #1 Issue For 2013, Says Liberal Leader

As we enter 2013, Provincial Liberal Leader Brian Gallant has no hesitation in saying what the number one issue is in New Brunswick these days. He says our major challenge is the economy, with a 11.2% unemployment rate and a rising deficit.

Despite that, Gallant says the Liberals still favour a moratorium on shale gas development with too many unanswered questions. He tells CHSJ News even Provincial Energy Minister Craig Leonard can't say how many jobs will be created, what impact it would have economically and how it would affect the environment.

City Working On Roads

Snow plows are working on clearing roads and sidewalks today. 

In a release, the City says snow plows have been on the streets since 3:30 am. Work on the sidewalks started at 7 am. 

They advise you to avoid roads if possible and to use extra caution if you need to travel.

Rplex? Rothesay Looks Into New Rec Centre

Quispamsis has the Qplex, and now Rothesay is looking at creating its own recreational centre.

Mayor Bill Bishop tells CHSJ news there's 2 million dollars in their capital budget for a design study, but that will only be used if Rothesay Council gets enough information on funding and size to go ahead.

Bishop says the rec centre would have a focus on indoor sports, with small rooms for martial arts, an indoor walking track and courts for basketball and volleyball.

Saint John Gets First Dumping Of Snow

Hopefully you don't have anywhere to go today, because most of Saint John is snowed in.

Gelas Duguay, a meteorologist from Environment Canada, says the worst of the snowfall is mostly over, but there's still snow coming. He says we've received as much as 15 cm of snow at the airport that started late overnight. Duguay says the heaviest of the snow fall will end around 8:30 am, but we will continue to get 5-6 cm of lighter snow throughout the day. Although the snowfall will end tonight, we'll still have strong winds up to 70 kilometers an hour.

The winter blast is dumping as much as 30 cm of snow across Nova Scotia, PEI and southern and eastern New Brunswick. It will then head to Newfoundland, bringing winds gusting up to 140 kilometers an hour. 

The high will be zero today, with a low of minus 12 for tonight.

The Princess of Acadia ferry crossing the Bay of Fundy has been cancelled for the day because of the storm. City transit says buses will start running at 10 am, but warn to expect delays and service may be stopped if the weather gets worse. Delays and cancellations have started at the airport.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Another Big Snow Storm To Hit Atlantic

Just when the streets start to get clear and delayed flights finally get home, more snow is coming to the Atlantic provinces.

Environment Canada says a low pressure system in the US is expected to move into the region and bring heavy snow and strong winds tonight and tomorrow. Forecasters expect anywhere from 15 to 25 centimeters of wet, heavy snow.

Here in New Brunswick, we're expected to get 5-15 cm of the white stuff starting at midnight tonight and throughout Sunday.

Traveling Saint Johnners Happy Despite Delays

Saint Johnners still in good spirits, despite enduring multiple flight cancellations and delays at various airports while trying to get home from their Christmas vacations after Thursday's heavy snowfall.

Roy and Muriel Marr had been traveling from Florida with their family for over 24 hours to get back to Rothesay. Their original flight from Toronto had been cancelled, so they had to transfer at the Halifax International Airport. The two say they don't blame the airline, and say the ticket agents have been working hard to get them home -- including giving them a hotel and meal vouchers.

Pat Teehan is visiting his girlfriend in Saint John, and wasn't bothered by his flight being cancelled Thursday night since he had a place to stay in Toronto. He says it's frustrating to be on standby, but says it's expected this time of year.

Lilly Both from Quispamsis was ready for the delays by packing a carry-on bag full of extra clothes and food. She says she had to drive 2 hours to the airport in Edmonton to find out her flight was delayed and she missed all her connecting flights. She says what bothered her was that she only received one ticket to Ottawa, instead of all to Montreal, then Saint John. She says she received no compensation because the cancellation was weather related. Despite that, she says she's not cranky, just a little tired. Both says it hasn't ruined her vacation, since it happened towards the end, not the beginning. 

Carolann Hatt from Back Bay is also in good spirits, despite having flight cancellations and delays from Ottawa. She says she's happy since she had good Christmas and just hopes everyone gets home safe and sound. 

And with more snow expected night, future delays could be a reality.

Overnight Snow Parking Ban Towing Tons Of Cars

It's not going to be a good start to the weekend for many people in the Southern and Central Peninsula.

According to City Police, over 25 cars have been towed overnight from parking on the street while the snow parking ban was in effect.

The ban runs from 11 pm to 7 am.  Those cars towed have been taken to a compound at Ashburn Lake.

And with more snow expected tonight, you can park your car overnight at Brunswick Square and Market Square for a discount rate of $4 between 8 pm and 8 am.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Get Ready For More Snow

A weather statement from Environment Canada has Southern New Brunswick looking at strong winds and snow late tomorrow night or after midnight.

10 cm's is possible before Sunday morning with more snow during the day.

NDP Leader Says The Best Is Yet To Come

The best is yet to come, according to provincial NDP leader Dominic Cardy, citing the tanking economy and ongoing struggles with catastrophic drug coverage as the province's lowest lows of 2012. Cardy tells CHSJ News the Alward government has missed the boat when it comes to solving the problems of most concern to New Brunswickers.

He says we have seen the government throw money at corporations instead of taking action on the problems all New Brunswickers know are out there.
Cardy adds they also tried to evict seniors from social housing if they had pets.

Cardy says despite the difficulties he'd like to see New Brunswickers take a moment over the holidays to reflect on the great things we've accomplished as a province and the ways we can move forward in the future.

SPCA Board Prez Reflects On 2012

There was a point earlier this year when the SPCA Animal Rescue League put up it's hands and announced to Saint John it's funds were so low they were facing closure.

They've weathered that storm, and their President Melody McElman tells CHSJ they still struggle but are now more healthy financially.

She says they need a business plan adding they cannot depend on donations and fundraise themselves 365 days a year and find something that will bring in continuous revenue.

In 2013 McElman says they plan on starting a cat program with seniors, hope to have a future partnership with UPEI's vet school for neutering, and hope to sell their Taylor avenue property.

It's Time To Find Those Receipts

This may not be first and foremost at this time of the year but you would be well advised to start organising the paperwork for your 2012 income tax return. That word coming from Sue Crawford at H and R Block.

Crawford says the end of this month is the deadline for charitable donations and paying bills for medical or dental if you want to claim those for the 2012 taxation year. The only thing you can claim in the new year for 2012 is your R-R-S-P contributions.

Crawford says alot of people may not realise you can also claim the premiums you pay for your medical coverage and you can get that total from your provider.


Driscoll Doesn't See Funding Cuts Ending

Funding cuts from the province will be the norm over the next couple of years. That assessment from Quispamsis Mayor Murray Driscoll.

Quispamsis is reworking its budget in light of a 240 thousand dollar cut next year from the province but Driscoll vows the town will make this work and accomplish something in the process. 

He says the town wants new trails at Matthew's Cove with picnic tables and even talk of a duck pond along with completion of the Hampton Highway in 2013.

City Declares Overnight Snow Parking Ban

There will be an overnight snow parking ban for the South/Central Peninsula beginning at 11:00 tonight through to 7:00 tomorrow morning. 

That means no on-street parking and any vehicles on the streets after 11 will be towed.

 Brunswick Square and Market Square offer a 4 dollar overnight parking rate between 8 on the night of the parking ban until 8:00 the next morning.

You can also park at six lots in the area at the corner of Princess and Charlotte Streets, King Street East, Peters Street, Mecklenburg at Wentworth, the corner of Queen and Charlotte at Key Industries and on Carmarthen Street at the Vineyard Church.

For more info, click here

Clean Water Now The Focus For Common Council

The big priority for Common Council in the coming year, according to Mayor Mel Norton, will be to get a funding arrangement in place to build a water treatment plant which will require help from both the province and federal government. 

He tells CHSJ News the second coming of the True Growth strategy is part and parcel of rejuvenating the city. The Mayor points out it has been several years since the city has had an economic development plan and, without one, there is the danger of stagnation and decline.

Norton has compared resolving the pension problem to an anchor sinking to the bottom of the Bay of Fundy which will free up millions of dollars for other priorities such as roads and bus service.

North End Councillor Not Happy Over Pension Reform

Approval of long term disability at a special meeting of Common Council was the last step in resolving the pension problem for the city but not everyone is overjoyed. 

Common Councillor Susan Fullerton says there is still too much financial uncertainty about how this will play out over the long term. Fullerton is pessimistic whether the shared risk model is sustainable over the long term even though she concedes it will reduce costs in the short term .

The President of the Saint John Firefighters Association Paul Stackhouse concedes there was very little choice about what to do in the face of ever rising yearly pension payments.

Saint John Police Association President Jamie Hachey estimates, if nothing was done, the pension payments could have risen to 40 million dollars a year.

Filling Up Will Cost You More

Gas prices are up a bit after the weekly setting with self serve regular in the city at $1.22.3 a litre and diesel at $1.36.9. 

Heating oil also rose to a  maximum of $1.16.9 with propane also more expensive at 94.2 cents a litre.

Another Storm Could Be Headed Our Way

You might want to keep an eye out for the weather forecast on Sunday now that Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement. 

It warns of more snow and strong winds possible for our region Sunday because of an intensifying low pressure system south of Nova Scotia. 

We'll have to wait a while yet before there's a better idea of how much snow we might get.

Saint John, according to Environment Canada. got 12 centimeters of snow. That compares to 36 centimeters at Gagetown.....29 cm in Fredericton.......25 cm in Moncton and only 6 in St. Stephen.

Storm Hampers City Firefighters

Fire crews responding to a blaze on Dewer Street in Red Head got stuck in heavy snow and had to stretch their hoses by hand. 

Acting Platoon Chief Mark Carey says the fire began in a van and then spread to the nearby home.

The van was destroyed and taken away for further investigation while the siding on two sides of the home melted.

Thermal imaging cameras were used to determine how far the fire had spread.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

City Crews Trying To Keep Up With Storm

In a release, the City of Saint John tells CHSJ News all crews and equipment are working to keep City streets and sidewalks safe for motorists and pedestrians.

They ask everyone to keep the conditions in mind and slow down and if possible avoid travelling the roads during the worst parts of the storm.

An additional 15 centimetres of snow and ice pellets are possible before it changes to rain late tonight.    That rain will not end until tomorrow afternoon.

Nearly 2600 Without Lights In Bordertown

NB Power reporting 7 outages impacting  nearly 2600 homes and businesses in St. Stephen today.

Last week's snowstorm and rainstorm wreaked havoc with tree branches hitting lines and knocking out power to 10,000 customers mostly in Fredericton, Woodstock, St. Stephen, Oromocto and Sussex.

Crews were still working on Saturday to restore power to some areas.

Transit Buses Are Running But With Delays

Saint John Transit buses are running in today's storm but passengers should expect delays due to the weather. 

Collision On Hwy 1 Westbound Near Lorneville

Crews responding to a collision on highway 1 Westbound on the ramp near the King William Road exit. A truck hauling a trailer hit an SUV.

Airbags have deployed.   A Road Warrior calling us and urging motorists out and about today to turn their headlights on.

Quispam Offers Tree Mulching Into January

Are you itching to get that Christmas tree out of your house?

The Town of Quispamsis offering its residents tree mulching services.

The two drop off locations are 11 Recreation Centre Road (the lower parking lot by the recreation centre) and 18 Municipal Drive (parking lot by the Walter Jewett ballfield).

Trees must be dropped off by January 14th.

YSJ Reports Flight Delays & Cancellations

If you are supposed to fly today, check ahead as the weather here and in Ontario and Quebec is impacting the schedule at the Saint John Airport.

Two flights from Toronto are cancelled and later this afternoon flights from Montreal and Toronto are delayed.

Another two flights leaving for Montreal today and tonight are cancelled while one to Toronto is cancelled.

To see the list yourself, click here

RRPD Reflect On 2012

The Rothesay Regional police categorizing 2012 as a great year from both a law enforcement and community relations standpoint.

Constable Krystal Daley tells CHSJ News the force is especially proud of its Senior's Police Academy and its increased presence on social media which means the community has more chances to get actively involved in law enforcement.

She tells CHSJ News they are developing new partnerships and looking to expand some of the projects in 2013 and hoping to offer their services to a greater percentage of the population.

She adds Rothesay was voted one of the safest communities in Canada which shows they're doing something right.

SUV Flips On Golden Grove Road

Amazingly no one is hurt after an SUV rolled over at Golden Grove Road and John T. McMillan Avenue.

The SUV flipped landing on its roof in a brook.   Everyone inside the vehicle was able to get out.

Light Snow Falling Uptown

The snow is falling in Saint John as a winter storm warning is in effect for our region.

We are looking at up to 10 centimetres of the white stuff today mixed with ice pellets. Strong wind gusts will be blowing that snow around.

Another 10 centimetres of heavy snow mixed with ice pellets is expected tonight in strong winds before it changes to rain after midnight.

The rain will wrap up tomorrow afternoon.

Common Council Decides On Long Term Disability

New long term disability will be sought for city employees from Great West Life as part of the revamping of the city's pension plan under the shared risk model. 

Common Council has agreed the city will pay 100 per cent of the coverage for two years which Councillor Donnie Snook says he can't accept, calling it ridiculous. He says a 50/50 split would have been acceptable for him to support. 

Finance Commissioner Greg Yeomans says there are 64 city employees on long term disability, at the moment, whose status will not change until they reach the age of 65 and the city will pick up that cost as well which is estimated at 1.9 million dollars.

Councillor Susan Fullerton voted against, saying there was too much of a rush and that kind of haste usually costs you more money in the end. She argues there are still too many unanswered questions.

Councillor Bill Farren voted in favour although he didn't necessarily disagree with Snook. Farren says city taxpayers will have to swallow full cost of long term disability for 24 months in order to get the pension issue out of the way once and for all.

Fellow west side Councillor Greg Norton voted in favour, saying the alternative would have cost much more money.

A Winter Storm Watch Issued

A nasty winter storm is moving into our region this morning with 5 centimeters of snow and ice pellets expected during the day with another 10 to 15 tonight. 

Ming Szeto of Environment Canada tells CHSJ News the snow will begin around mid morning and be mixed with ice pellets this afternoon. There will be alot of blowing snow that will reduce visability because of winds gusting up to 80 kilometers an hour.

Szeto says the heaviest amount of snow will fall later this afternoon into tonight before changing to periods of rain tomorrow.

Y Prez Describes 2012 As Phenomenal

2012 was a very busy year between designing a new North end facility and still running their many programs in the city.

President and CEO Shilo Boucher tells CHSJ News they were able to help 15,000 people this year.

She says Y volunteers donated 14,000 hours and their donors helped 3,000 families through the strong kids program.

Back in the spring, the Y released the new design for their future home in the Crescent Valley. 

 Construction on the new building it set to begin next year with an opening in 2014.

University Will Help Grow Saint John Economy

The Vice-President in charge of U-N-B Saint John, Dr. Robert MacKinnon warns it would be a mistake not to view higher education as a significant engine for future economic growth in the region.

Dr. MacKinnon points to the research being done at the university's Canadian Rivers Institute and in health care with Dalhousie University. He maintains that research is just at the beginning foundational level with much more to come.

Dr. MacKinnon says that's one reason why there has been so much focus placed on enhancing the Tucker Park campus by the Regional Hospital.

Local Economy Being Bolstered By Small High Tech Companies

Most Saint Johnners might be surprised to learn there are a hundred or so I-C-T companies in the city employing more than 3 thousand people. 

It even came as an eyeopener for the President of the Saint John Board of Trade Imelda Gilman during a business tour organised earlier this year for politicians to get the lay of the land when it came to the local economy.

She calls it exciting that many of these companies are working away under the radar in the uptown historic buildings to not only build up their own businesses but also offering support to start ups and developing technology for other parts of the economy.

Gilman sees I-C-T being a key cluster for economic growth in the future.


Special Meeting Today Of Common Council

"The pension anchor is sinking to the bottom of the Bay of Fundy".......So says Mayor Mel Norton who tells CHSJ News many millions of dollars will be freed up now that the shared risk model for the city pension plan has been agreed to and a huge weight has been lifted off the shoulders of Common Council. 

The Mayor says 5 million dollars will be spent on roads in the city which is seen as the right amount to start rebuilding to bring them up to where they should be.

Norton says there will also be more money next year for transit, recreation and water. 

Meantime, long term disability will be the focus of a special meeting of Common Council this morning at 10:00. The cost of long term disability is not part of the shared risk model.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Elderly Couple Escape Mobile Home Fire

It's terribly sad news the day after Christmas as fire guts a home in Penobsquis.

An elderly couple managed to get out unharmed but they lost a lot in the blaze about 530 this morning.

Sussex RCMP Constable Trevor Arseneau tells CHSJ News the homeowners got out safely but one firefighter was hurt.

Arseneau says an oxygen tank exploded inside the home.

The volunteer firefighter was treated at the scene.  The couple were assisted by Red Cross volunteers who lived nearby.   

They lost a motorized wheelchair and other items in the fire. 
No word yet on a cause.

NCC Aims To Preserve More Habitat Next Year

The Nature Conservancy of Canada celebrating its milestone 50th year as an organization...and they say they're going into 2013 with increased capabilities and conserving even more natural habitat for wildlife. 

Paula Noel of the conservancy tells CHSJ News they're able to do a lot more than simply conserve the areas that need it most desperately.

She says they have accelerated the pace of land conservation here in the province and across the country thanks to a large grant from the federal government.

Noel says they've been pleased to be able to preserve forested areas and coastline throughout the province, and well as enlisting local nature-lovers to help with their beach clean-ups and field projects.

Canada Beats Germany

Thanks to strong performances from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jonathan Huberdeau, Team Canada thumps Germany 9-3 in its opening match at the World Junior Hockey  Championships in Russia.  

For more info, click here

Canada Leads Germany 8-3

Canada leads Germany 8-3 in the third period of their opening match of the World Junior Hockey Championship in Russia.


Everyone is talking about the combination of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jonathan Huberdeau who have 9 points combined.

Firefighter Hurt In Penobsquis House Fire

One firefighter slightly hurt after an oxygen tank blew up in a house fire in Penobsquis.

Sussex RCMP Constable Trevor Arseneau tells CHSJ News the call came in about 5:30 this morning on Penobsquis loop.

Arseneau tells us people living in the home were able to get out unhurt.

Arseneau says the home is quite damaged and crews remain on the scene with no word yet on a cause of the blaze. 

OPP Arrest Two After Fredericton Incident

Two people wanted on a Canada Wide warrant regarding an incident in Fredericton on December 20th have been caught in Ontario.

The two are accused of trying to force a woman leaving a bar in the City to drive them in her car.    In a scuffle, the woman and her friend got away but the man and woman fled with her car.

Saint John Police telling CHSJ News the pair were taken into custody by the Ontario Provincial Police on Christmas Eve.

Storm Coming Tomorrow

It's look like we'll get a chance to break in our new snow blowers just two days after Christmas.

The first real blast of winter is coming our way tomorrow in the shape of snow mixed with ice pellets tomorrow afternoon and evening and strong wind gusts.

More snow is on the way Friday.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Day Is Not Garbage Day

There will be no garbage collection tomorrow (Christmas Day). The people who normally get their garbage collected on Tuesday will have it done Wednesday instead. The city also letting everyone know, Christmas wrapping paper cannot be recycled.