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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Caring Teens Will Receive Recognition

Singling out the youth who give back is the motivation behind the Teens Who Care Awards being handed out tomorrow night.
The event put on by The Resource Centre for Youth for the fourth year.
Executive Director June Breau-Nason tells CHSJ News they wanted to put a stop to all the negative talk about teens.

She tells us they wanted to promote what kids are doing in their community to make it a better place.

The Teens Who Care Awards are coming up at the Lily Lake Pavilion tomorrow night at 7.   For more info, click here

Nearly 14,000 More People Vote In Advance

Almost 40,000 New Brunswickers casting their ballots in the advance polls held Saturday and Monday for the municipal election.

Elections NB tells CHSJ News that's a significant increase over the 26,000 who voted in advance four years ago.

The theory is that either people are very interested in this campaign or they like the convenience of voting in advance or both.

Greater Saint John had very strong numbers this time out with over 3800 voting in advance of election day this Monday.

New Location for Art Gallery

One of the city's most respected art galleries getting a new home...after 14 years at 80 Prince William Street, the Peter Buckland Gallery has moved to a unique basement location on Duke Street.

Buckland tells us they chose the space for its gritty, urban feel. It was formerly a garage--and Buckland tells CHSJ news a lot of care and effort went into the renovations. The finished space is pure white and, he says, shows off the artwork to its best advantage.

The new location at 35 Duke Street is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday or by appointment. The Peter Buckland Gallery will also be participating in the first uptown Gallery Hop of the season, which begins at 8pm Friday. 

SPCA Gets Helping Paw From City

The city's animal lovers getting some much-anticipated news about the fate of the SPCA building on Taylor Avenue. At common council, the city deciding it will pay the tab for demolishing the building to free up funds for animal control. Common council heard it will cost an estimated $18,000 to tear down the building.

Councillor Patty Higgins called the demolition a step in the right direction, saying everybody wins with these kind of partner

The SPCA opened up a new location on Bayside Drive in March. There have been ongoing complaints about animal control since their funding was cut by the city.

City Union Hosting Candidates Meeting Tonight

If you didn't make the advanced polls on the weekend you have less than a week to make up your mind on who to cast your vote for in the municipal vote.

The City inside workers' union is hosting an all candidates meeting tonight at
Harbour View High from 7 to 10pm.

Mayor Court Believes We Will Get Pension Reforms

Mayor Ivan Court's bid for re-election might be looked upon as an uphill struggle considering the financial problems besetting the city with the pension plan's rising deficit and cuts in this year's budget.

He tells CHSJ News he voted against the budget because he believes we will get the reforms we need and Councillor Higgins also voted against it because they didn't want to cut fire, police and transit.

Court also maintains being Mayor in this day and age is a fulltime job regardless of what you might hear from any of the other candidates

He says it happens seven days a week and you have to committ your life to this and you lose a lot of time from your own family and they have to make great sacrifices.

As for his combative style, Court says you have to stand up for what's best for the city and when you do that, you risk alienating some people.

Housing Starts Remain Sluggish

Real estates sales may be strong this year - but - a new survey from Canada Mortgage and Housing shows the number of new housing units started in the greater Saint John area down by 51-percent compared to April of last year.
Overall the federal agency says new home construction in our area is down 29-percent between January and April compared to the same period in 2011.
The federal agency is also reporting a 40-percent drop in the Moncton area while Fredericton posted a 65-percent gain in the number of new housing units breaking ground last month compared to a year ago.

Garage Goes Up In Flames

An early morning fire at a small one car garage early this morning at the end of Jack Street off Sandy Point Road. 

The blaze was raging when firefighters arrived around 4:30 but it was extinguished in just a few minutes. 

About half an hour earlier, fire crews were also called to the Superstore on Rothesay Avenue to put out a small fire at the back of the building.

Pension Reforms Might Happen Sooner Than Expected

At the final meeting before Monday's municipal election, City Manager Pat Woods got the Common Council to deal with what he calls the albatross around its neck by approving proposed reforms to the city's pension plan before the last sitting of the Legislature in early June. 

The city needs the approval of the province to go ahead with the reforms, which would mean the pension deficit would go up to 220 million dollars but the city's payment would be reduced from 26 million to 16.1 million with employees contributing 9%.

Woods is conceding the timing will be tight.

Councillor Patty Higgins objected, comparing it to a Bernie Madoff style Ponzi scheme, or fraudulent investment operation. She said it's such a mess it might not even be reparable.

The other Councillors disagreed and voted to approve the recommendations. Woods told them the Superintendent of Pensions said there would be no harm in waiting until the fall because the city's financial straits will be no worse.

More Beaches to Have Lifeguards This Summer

The warm winter spelling good news for the city's beaches this summer.

Common Council giving the okay to use some of the money saved from the cost of snow removal costs for the reinstatement of lifeguards at local beaches such as Dominion Park, Rockwood Park, and Mispec.

Mayor Ivan Court tells CHSJ News lack of lifeguards is a public safety issue, especially in areas like the "Res" and Fisher Lakes where there are drop-offs and kids tend to be wandering around. 

City Manager Pat Woods being met with the support of all the Common Councillors when he recommended they find $100,000 dollars to save the life guards.

Province Working On Getting Work Restarted On Harbour Bridge and One Mile Interchange

Work on the Harbour Bridge and the One Mile Interchange is still on hold.

The company that was doing work on the two structures -- Concreate USL -- went into receivership recently.

The province had performance bonds and an official with the department of transportation tells us they are currently working with the bonding company on setting up a new contract.

The rep would only say "soon" when asked when work will re-start.