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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Court Wants to Crack Down on Illegal Businesses

Illegal businesses dumping garbage around and operate out of sub-standard buildings need to go. That's the message from Councillor Bruce Court. He's sick of the way such operations are allowed to run unchecked.

He says that the problem is especially bad in the area off Hillcrest Road, where some illegal businesses have been operating for two years, despite that enforcement officers live nearby.

He says it's not just an east side problem--he's also seen illegal painting happening in the middle of town. He says the city needs to step up its enforcement and make sure residential neighbourhoods don't have to put up with those kinds of operations.

Many Canadians Ignore Possible Dementia Symptoms As Old Age

By 2038, 1.1 million Canadians will have dementia which is one every two minutes.

January is Alzheimer's Awareness Month and a new national survey finds 50 per cent of Canadians lived with symptoms for a year or more before seeing a doctor.

Jamie Matthews of the Saint John office tells CHSJ News if you have a loved one exhibiting symptoms such as memory loss or trouble with language they should be assessed.

He says after a referral from your family doctor a patient would be assessed through the Department of Social Development with a standard test to dertermine the level of care and treatment required for the individual.

Matthews says they will be a starting a five-part series on dementia at Rocmaura nursing home with the first session on February 1st.

For more info on dementia, click here

Gilman Says Congestion Tax Sends Negative Message

Might as well hang a "closed" sign on the uptown area if the city implements the congestion tax proposed at last night's council meeting. That according to Board of Trade President Imelda Gilman, who says that charging suburban commuters to come into the uptown core would encourage people to stay away.

She says it's a gives the message that we don't want to attract business here.
Councillor Donnie Snook, who presented the idea, says it's a way to generate new sources of revenue from people who work in the city, but don't pay taxes here. Gilman says that raising parking costs is a far more realistic option, and that a tax like that would basically be an unprecedented move in Canada.

Military Action Figures Causing A Buzz

One of the creators of a new collectible is calling it a way of recognizing the men and women of the Canadian Forces.
John Alan Sperry of Truro, Nova Scotia is one of three people behind Canadian military action figures.

There are three different designs including air force, navy and army. Sperry says 6,000 action figures were made and they've been a hit so far across the country.

He says they are getting lots of positive response and the figures have a Canadian flag on one arm so there is a lot of pride involved.

Sperry says they've sold about half of the action figures so far, with one dollar going to the Soldier on Fund for military personnel and families of injured members.
For more info, click here

(photo courtesy of Heroes Force)

Blanchard Favours Talks On Generic Drug Pricing

It doesn't look as if pharmacists will be negotiating with the province about generic drug pricing.

They have been told by Provincial Health Minister Madelaine Dube the government has all the information it needs to make a decision which will be unveiled in the spring. 

That doesn't sound good to Paul Blanchard, the Executive-Director of the New Brunswick Pharmacists Association.  He says his pessimism comes with years of experience and the absence of information, communication and dialogue does not foster a lot of trust and that is making his members angry.

How that anger might manifest itself remains to be seen but Blanchard says the province was given a proposal by the pharmacists a year ago that would have saved the government between 7 and 8 million dollars a year.

Farren Disagrees With Tax Relief For Transit

A Pandora's Box........That's why Common Councillor Bill Farren opposes property tax relief for Saint John Transit even if it would mean more than 300 thousand dollars in savings that will be plowed back into bus service.

Farren says how does he argue against giving food banks relief but you make city owned buildings exempt.

Farren points out everyone seemed to be complaining a few years ago when industry in the city got a big property tax break from the province.

Common Council Gets Update On Revised Pension Plan

Changes to the city's pension plan are not ready to go before a special sitting of the Legislature even if it could be scheduled. 

That word delivered to Common Council by City Solicitor John Nugent. 

He says the Superintendent of Pensions has to sign off on the proposed changes before there can by any vote by the M-L-A's and the city is still waiting to hear from her.

Nugent warns she might still decide further changes are necessary.

Farren Says He Doesn't Want To See Trade And Convention Centre Fall Apart

Common Councillor Bill Farren is making the case for the city to spend 6.4 million dollars up front to upgrade the Trade and Convention Centre calling it the city's number one economic priority.

Farren warns bookings for this year are down and non-existent for 2013. He also argues a revitalised Trade and Convention Centre will make it easier to sell the Coast Guard site.

Common Councillor Mel Norton says he hasn't heard from Saint Johnners about this being a priority and for him that would be safe drinking water.

Councillor Peter McGuire, who sits on the Water Committee, says the message from the other two levels of government has been loud and clear.........You can only have one priority. 

Nevertheless, revitalisation of the Trade and Convention Centre will be part of the budget deliberations.

City's Legal Beagles Will Study Viability Of Congestion Tax

The idea of charging a congestion tax on commuters bringing their vehicles into the uptown will be studied by the city's legal department.

Common Councillors Donnie Snook and Bill Farren say it has worked well in London, England but fellow Councillor Chris Titus warns against comparing apples with oranges because Saint John doesn't have the same traffic congestion as London or Boston.

Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase says the city wants people to go downtown and a congestion tax could turn out to be counter productive. 

Snook questions why city taxpayers should pick up the entire tab of maintaining roads that are used by people who choose to live where the property tax rate is alot lower.