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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Algonquin Sale Details Coming Tomorrow

A news conference is being held at noon time tomorrow to unveil the details of the sale of the historic Algonquin Hotel in St Andrew's.
Provincial officials have been negotiating with a partnership made up of Southwest Properties and New Castle Hotels and Resorts.
The partnership plans to operate the hotel under the Marriott brand - both companies have experience operating hotels here in Atlantic Canada and the U-S.

Sea Dogs Set For The Playoffs

"A chance to show and shine is a great thing for the City and the Sea Dogs"
That from Sea Dogs president Wayne Long on their first game of the playoffs being broadcast coast to coast on Sportsnet.

He tells CHSJ News the fact that Sportsnet is coming back shows the team has national attention.

He says they are the Memorial Cup champs and Harbour Station is a venue that is second to none and the team is thrilled to be back on national tv.

The Sea Dogs take on the Screaming Eagles Friday night at 8pm.

The team are selling hockey cards again for the playoffs and this year's edition features newer players like Charlie Coyle and Maxime Villemaire.

Pension Board Trustee Says He Knew Lawsuit Would Turn Into "A Circus"

A Pension Board trustee has told the defamation trial of former Common Councillor John Ferguson, he wanted nothing to do with the lawsuit.

Andrew Belyea, representing the police union, says he didn't want litigation believing only the lawyers would win despite maintaining, in his opinion, the pension board was defamed. Belyea telling the jury he knew it would turn into a circus.

 He also testified transparency can be good or bad because things can be taken out of context adding Ferguson, as a common councillor, was allowed an opinion so long as it didn't go over the edge.

Ferguson's lawyer, Rod Gillis pointed out concerns about the cost of disability pensions emerged as early as 2003 and the pension board was told it should get more advice. 

Belyea, representing the police union, testified he ddn't find the number of disability pensions concerning after examining the details and his job was to look out for people who retired with disabilities so long as they had the proper documentation. 

He wasn't sure whether the concerns were passed along to Common Council.

Property Sales Post Big Gains In February

The local real estate market appears to be picking up steam after a roller coaster year last year.
The Greater Saint John Real Estate Board says 159-properties were sold last month - an increase of 47-percent over February of last year.
The average sale price of a home also increased by three percent to just over 180-thousand dollars.
Board president Jason Stephen says that strength in the numbers is in sharp contrast to the recent softening trend.

Council May Have Another Brother Act

Where Common council currently has two brothers in Ivan and Bruce Court, after May 14 it could have a new brother combo in Mel and Greg Norton.

The rookie councillor/mayor candidate's brother is running to represent Ward 1.
Greg Norton is the Principal of Lorne Middle school.

He tells CHSJ News Saint John is beginning to experience growth so council should be focused on partnerships that strengthen other wards and communities.

Quispamsis Mayor To Re-Offer In May Vote

Quispamsis Mayor Murray Driscoll will be putting his name up for the mayor's seat again in May.

He tells CHSJ News there is still a lot of work to be done and he wants to focus on infrastructure if he gets re-elected.

He says he is proud of the last four years -- especially getting the QPlex built under budget and reducing taxes.

Deputy Mayor Emil Olsen will also be running again for a seat on council.

QPlex Gets Donation From Company That Built It

The Qplex getting a nice birthday present -- the Marco Group of Companies, who built the facility, donating 75-thousand dollars towards the facility.

President Allan MacIntosh says the company doesn't normally give money to a project after completion but he really enjoyed working with the town of Quispamsis

The Qplex opened on March 31st last year.

Lights Not Working At Thorne & Rothesay Avenues

Wires knocked down by the transport truck this morning have taken out the lights at Thorne Avenue and Rothesay Avenue.

City police are providing traffic control in the area while Saint John Energy crews repair the pole and get the lights working again.

Drivers coming from Haymarket Square can't access Rothesay Avenue but they go around and reach it through Russell Street.

It expected to be back up and running in about an hour.

Province Capping Cost Of Generic Prescription Drugs

New Brunswickers will no longer be paying higher prices than elsewhere in the country for generic prescription drugs.
Health Minister Madeleine Dube says that's unfair -- so after about a year of consultations with the public and pharmacies - Dube says the price of generic drugs will be capped at 40-percent of the cost of brand names beginning June 1st - that will drop to 35-percent by December 1st.
The minister says the move will mean a savings of 16-million a year - six million of that will be funnelled to the pharmacies as part of the deal negotiated.

Another Record High Expected Today

It's likely we'll establish a new record high for the day this afternoon after getting into the 20's yesterday. 

Bob Robichaud of Environment Canada wouldn't be surprised telling CHSJ News we are engulfed by a warm air mass from the southern U.S.
Robichaud predicts it will start to cool off beginning tomorrow but the temperatures will still be above normakl before returning to seasonal values on Monday.

Having just got back from Newfoundland, he warns the cold air isn't all that far away.

Police Officer Tears Into Former Common Councillor

Ferguson used us as a platform for politics......That, from city police officer and pension board trustee Andrew Belyea accusing former Common Councillor John Ferguson of grandstanding and making baseless accusations. Belyea served as the Police Association's representative on the pension board.

 He testified if Ferguson was all that concerned about the pension board, he could have come up and asked his questions.

Belyea said, “If you're going to shoot your mouth off like that and I can't say anything to you directly, I have a real problem with that.

He told the court if Ferguson was going to take a roundabout way of calling him a criminal, Ferguson should have gone up to the pension board and made the comments face to face.

Earlier the court heard from pension administrator Andrea Cain, who said she wasn't aware of any trustees receiving training in actuarial science, as was recommended by an independent report. Defense lawyer Rod Gillis said that shows the board simply accepted whatever figures it was given without doing its homework.

Gas Prices Rise

You'll have to pay a bit more for gas after the weekly setting.

Self serve regular is up by almost two cents a litre, selling in the city for $1.34.2.

Diesel increasing by less than half a cent to $1.39.7 around town. 

Not much of a change with heating oil at 123.2 a litre but the price of propane is listed at 106.1 a litre, a rise of 3 cents.

Elections NB Host Election Information Seminar

About 20 people attending an information session at city hall that outlines what goes into running in the upcoming Municipal Election.

The event is arranged by Elections New Brunswick and Chief Electoral Officer Mike Quinn tells CHSJ News while the sessions can act as a filter to see who is really serious about running, it's also an easy way to find out what exactly it takes to run in an election.

Official nomination papers can be filed beginning on March 26th.

Police Board Will Not Support Legal Action Against Common Council

The Board of Police Commissioners telling the police union that it will not support them if it decides to take Common Council to court.

The union is thinking about taking legal action against the city for the recent budget cuts, which it says violates the Police Act.

Union spokesperson Bob Davidson tells CHSJ News in light of the response, he will be presenting at the next police board meeting.

He says can't offer many details, only that it will be very insightful.

However, the Board of Police Commissioners agreed to write letters to MLA's asking for pension reform support.