Sackville calls for hydrofracking ban

Sackville calls for hydrofracking ban

Published Thursday July 14th, 2011

 Council asks for moratorium on controversial practice until natural gas
action plan is completed
by meg edwards
Times & Transcript Staff

Sackville council voted unanimously to request that the province of New
Brunswick issue a moratorium on exploration and hydrofracturing for shale gas
and oil.

The council wished that such a moratorium would be in place until the
government’s natural gas action plan is complete and includes a strong
regulatory framework monitoring process and full protection of aquifers and
other water sources.

“We are still not convinced of the effectiveness of the management and we
need more input from New Brunswick,” said Councillor Bruce Phinney.

“You cannot clean up a polluted aquifer,” added Councilor Maragret
Tusz-King.

“Some things are irreparable no matter how much money a company puts
aside.”

Councillor Virgil Hammock agreed saying that New Brunswickers were taking
risks in the situation, with very little promised benefits.

In other news from council:

The Rural and Small Town Programme on Mount Allison’s University campus has
been abruptly cancelled, with little warning to the director Gwendolyn Zwicker,
her five staff and one summer student.

In a statement from the university the program was acknowledged as having
added a valuable contribution to “our understanding of the conditions of social
life in rural settlements and small towns in Atlantic Canada.”

The university has decided that the program is not viable over the long term
and does not fit within its core mission as a liberal arts university.

While RSTP officially closed on June 20, the director will continue to
monitor projects until September in an off-campus location.

RSTP does primary and secondary research.

Included amongst that work is focus groups, key informant interviews, and
statistical analysis and surveys.

Among some of RSTP’s recent projects included SPY CAMPS – Sustainable
Planning for Youth, and Climate Change Adaptation, Planning and Policy in
Atlantic Canada.

Councillor Fullerton, whose motion to write a letter to the university to
oppose the closing of the RSTP was unanimously supported, said that the closure
of the program was “contrary to sustainability.”

Fullerton said that the community had benefitted from the program and that it
had created an important institutional link between the town and Mount Allison
University.

Cheryl Veinotte, a graduate of Mount Allison and a recent employee of RSTP,
attended the council meeting and was grateful for Fullerton’s actions.

Veinotte told those assembled at the council meeting that the closure was
abrupt and disheartening.

“We were notified that we were moving our offices on a Thursday and on Monday
we were told we had no jobs.”

The staff has been given a non-working notice severance pay of one-month
pay.

Deputy Mayor Bob Berry announced that Sackville’s CAO Eric Mourant was out on
leave on an internal matter.

Berry said that Treasurer Michael Beal would act as the CAO in the meantime
and that the matter would be resolved in the next few weeks.

 

Advertisements

New Business opens in Sackville

New business opens in Sackville

Published Wednesday July 13th, 2011

Anointment specializes in handcrafted soaps and more, from pure
ingredients
by meg edwards
Times & Transcript staff

April MacKinnon left Sackville after high school, going to Halifax for
college and looking for a life that was “better, bigger and brighter.”

Click to Enlarge
Times & Transcript
April MacKinnon has been able to successfully balance being a
mother with being a business owner, as she has just recently opened Anointment
in Sackville.

But now that she has three children and a growing business she sees the
advantages of the quiet life.

This spring April and her husband Jeff moved back to Sackville, settling into
a spacious country home near her parents in Upper Sackville.

With plenty of room for her home-based business, Anointment, which is found
at http://www.anointment.ca, April is busy making handcrafted soaps, baby oils, balms,
toners and bath salts from pure ingredients.

You can find April with her three-month-old baby cuddled into his snugly,
every Saturday at the Sackville Farmer’s Market, selling her soap that sounds
good enough to eat, with names like calendula, lavender, lemon poppy seed and
licorice.

Although they enjoyed aspects of city life, they decided to move so that
their children did not think that stabbings and robberies were a normal part of
life.

“We said to ourselves, our family needs us and we need them, so we thought it
is now or never,” she says.

April and her husband met in college in 1998 while studying civil engineering
and while many of their colleagues went out west for work they decided to tough
it out in the east. They both found work in Halifax in their fields, but once
the first baby Anna arrived in 2005, April decided to stay home with the baby
and started an online business selling cloth diapers and baby supplies.

“The business got busier and busier,” says April, who obviously has
multi-tasking down to an art, “and it got to the point where I couldn’t do it
from home anymore so I opened a store,” called Nurtured on Robie Street in
Halifax.

“I had actually purchased Anointment in 2009,” says April, “to complement the
products I had at the store, because it was natural skin care and the lady who
founded the company was a customer of mine and she was having a baby and decided
she couldn’t do it anymore so I decided I don’t want to lose this product, I am
just going to take it over.”

After being trained in the art of soap making, April trained her father and
they now work together.

With instinctive business acumen, April jumped in to her new business, with
her newborn baby, Andrew, in her arms. She updated the labeling with Health
Canada, made sure it was bilingual, gave the labeling some colour and made it
“boutique-ready” for sale in stores and wholesale.

April already has 16 wholesale accounts and is “working on growing that” with
an e-commerce site so that she can sell online.

And now, surrounded by a huge garden overflowing with flowers, April is glad
to be home. As her six-year-old daughter Anna pedals about in the driveway, and
her husband Jeff arrives home with her four-year-old boy Cameron, April could be
the symbol of home-based businesses and an answer to New Brunswick’s brain
drain.

Shiretown Days a Success for Dorchester

Shiretown Days a success for Dorchester

Published Thursday June 23rd,
2011

 Hiring practices of village questioned by residents
by Meg Edwards
TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF

DORCHESTER – Deputy Mayor Jerome Bear reported at council’s meeting this week
that the Shiretown Days celebration on June 11, which also celebrated
Dorchester’s 100th anniversary, was a great success. Bear added that he wanted
to give a special thank you to the marching band that was formed by members of
the Dorchester Penitentiary and Westmorland Institution.

Councillor Robert Corkerton advised council that the recreation department
was going to offer one free day of summer camps on Monday, June 27 so that
children could have an introduction to the summer programs.

In other council news:

* Coun. Kim Macleod told council that she had been “getting negative
feedback” from Dorchester residents on the hiring procedure for the summer
programs in Dorchester. Of the four young people hired, only one is from
Dorchester and the other three are from Sackville.

“It is my understanding,” said MacLeod, “that the employment grants exist for
kids in our community who need to work and make money for school the next
year.”

Corkerton responded that he hired the “best candidates for the job” and that
there was no mandate saying that he had to hire from within the community.

* Coun. Grant MacDonald reported that although there were many roads that
needed repairing, or even “rebuilding,” he was asking people to be patient.

“I will not run into debt,” said MacDonald. “I am not going to overspend
because that just runs over to the next year.”

MacDonald said that Woodlawn Road and Water Street were a first priority but
that the Department of Transportation is partly responsible for the condition of
Woodlawn Road after it was used for a detour road for an extended time.

* Council passed a motion to write a letter to the South East Regional Adult
Learning Board to demand an explanation for the closing of the Adult Learning
Centre that had been held in the Dorchester Consolidated School for seven
years.

Council questioned the closing of the centre, which offers help with résumés,
job searches, summer camps and computer software training.

* There is possibility of a minor baseball league in Dorchester this summer
because the Sackville Leagues filled up so quickly that there may be enough
youth in Dorchester and other areas to form another Bantam-age team.

Baie Verte Citizens Continue to Question Irving Gas Filling Station

Baie Verte Residents continue questioning of proposed Natural Gas Station
Meg Edwards
Baie Verte citizens gathered again this week to question the safety and location of a proposed natural gas filling station in their farming community. A land lot has been purchased just off the westerly exit of Copp Loop Road on Route 16, with plans to remove the existing house, shrubs and trees in order to build a natural gas filling station for trucks, about one truck every 2 hours, according to James Vaughan, VP Health, Safety and Environment with Irving Group.
Doug Dean, project manager for J.D. Irving, Ltd confirmed that the site had been chosen because it had year round access, no weight restrictions, was no more than 8 feet from Maritime and North East Pipeline delivery plant, and 50 miles from Cavendish Farms.
Dean confirmed in detail the safety regulations of the plant, and presented photos of other filling stations that had residential properties nearby. Dean said that there are already trucks on the road that carry larger quantities of explosive material, such as gasoline trucks.
Dean also presented slides to support his argument that real estate values would not decrease in the area, but only showed examples of real estate prices near filling stations in urban areas. Wayne and Louise Phinney, who live within one km of the proposed site, were not convinced. Louise Phinney pointed out that what was missing from his presentation were real estate prices before and after a filling station had been built.
Residents continued to show resistance to the project, saying that the proposed filing station is not appropriate for the green hills of Baie Verte and would be more appropriately located in the Scoudouc Industrial Park only 30 minutes away.
Ross Fisher, from the Department of Transportation, gave a lengthy description of highway road legislation that concluded with the point that Copp Loop Road is an unrestricted road. Fisher also presented studies done to measure stopping and turning sight distances to prove that the trucks had enough space to pull out onto the road safely.
But Baie Verte residents are concerned that this stretch of highway is already dangerous, with three blind hills in a row, and Stephen Werry told Dean that he was making a formal objection to the plan, saying that a traffic study plan was essential. Another resident concluded the queries by saying, “If this station was a good idea, then we would not be here talking about it”.

Tantramar Rural Plan discussed

Tantramar rural plan discussed

Published Saturday June 18th, 2011

 Currently there is ‘no plan at all,’ according to commission director
by meg edwards
Times & Transcript staff

BAIE VERTE – The Tantramar Planning District Commission presented a draft of
a rural plan for the unincorporated areas of Tantramar on Thursday night at the
Baie Verte Community Hall.

The main focus of the plan is to provide policies and regulation to control
land use and protect property owners.

“What we have right now,” said director Ron Corbett, “is no plan at all.”

In one of many public consultations, Corbett and his colleagues Tracey Wade
and Lori Bickford emphasized that their aim was to protect and encourage
agriculture, forestry and fisheries while setting up guidelines for future
developments.

“And we want to raise the comfort level,” said Corbett, for those who are
concerned about new legislations. Some of the main areas of protection in the
plan are natural resources, environmentally sensitive areas like coastal areas,
water quality and the more ambiguous “quality of life.”

Under the plan, building setbacks will be enforced for new structures near
the coastline, and while owners who already have existing properties will not be
asked to take them down, proposals for new developments in the coastal zone will
be subject to a waiver. Also, any new development along the coast that requires
a public or private road will have to allow access to the public beach for local
residents.

At present, rural land owners have no restrictions other than provincial
regulations and they “can do anything they want” without public notification or
consultation, said Corbett.

Corbett said that if the rural plan is approved it will “enshrine rights that
already exist” and allow residents to be better informed about proposed
developments as they arise.

Local land owner Karen Trueman from Point de Bute spoke up at the end of the
meeting to say that land owners who lose the use of their land due to wetland
buffers should be the ones compensated by the government.

“What worries me is every time you make legislation you take a right away,”
she said.

The draft version of the rural plan will not be finalized until “the snow
flies” said Corbett.

“At the end of the day, it is the minister that approves it,” he said.

The Tantramar Planning District Commission is an autonomous body that was
formed in 1990. It is funded by the government of New Brunswick and the
municipalities of Sackville, Dorchester and Port Elgin.

Baie Verte residents showing concern over natural gas station

Baie Verte residents showing concern over natural gas station

Published Tuesday May 31st, 2011

   Construction of transfer station expected to begin in August
by meg edwards
Times & transcript staff
Baie Verte residents filled their local hall last week when word got around that one of New Brunswick’s first natural gas filling stations was to be built on Highway 16 at Copp Loop Road.

Minister of Agriculture Mike Olscamp was in attendance, as well as representatives from Spectra Energy Transmission – Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline, Island Gas and Cavendish Farms.

Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline is planning to build a CTS – Custody Transfer Station – adjacent to the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline on Route 16. It will be a secure fenced-in facility of about 25 by 25 metres with above ground piping and a small electrical building. If approved by the National Energy Board, the construction will start in August and take approximately three months to build.

The CTS will be owned by M&NP and will deliver gas to a truck loading facility owned and operated by Island Gas Ltd for the delivery of natural gas to Prince Edward Island; the final destination will be Cavendish Farms, owned and operated by Irving Ltd.

With an expected 12 steel tube trailers, each carrying 14 long tubes of natural gas, entering and exiting the small highway every day, residents are concerned about traffic and safety issues.

Residents also questioned the companies about the possibility of odour from the station, and a few residents expressed concern that their land will decrease in value.

After the meeting Minister Olscamp said that residents had legitimate concerns about three main issues: the location of the station, propriety values and safety. Regarding the safety, the station is equipped with automatic station shut downs and the plant is continuously monitored by operations staff at Cavendish and at Irving Industrial Security.

Olscamp said that he was pushing for another public meeting in which the details of the meeting would be “nailed down,”, such as the location of the plant, which according to local residents, could be much further back from the road.

NB Cadets show their colors in Port Elgin

N.B. cadets show their colours in Port Elgin
Published Monday May 30th, 2011
Freedom of the City tradition goes back to ancient Rome
by meg edwards
Times & transcript staff

PORT ELGIN – The skies cleared for a parade of the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s) in Port Elgin on Saturday.

Members of the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s) cadets parade through Port Elgin Saturday. Cadet corps gathered from all over New Brunswick including an excellent marching band selected from cadets from Sussex, Cap Pele, Port Elgin, Shediac, Dieppe and Moncton.

Port Elgin hosted the ceremonial review, and was given the traditional military honor of ‘The Freedom of the Village,’ an honor that conveys the respect and trust that the community holds for the cadets.

The martial tradition goes back to ancient Rome when it was a capital offence to enter a city in formation or with weapons. Any legion whose honor was beyond question would be given the “freedom of the city” and be free to enter the city with “drums beating and colors flying.”

Justin Jacobs, dressed in the traditional uniform with brass buttons and gold cord, was found adjusting his fellow cadet’s uniforms of Corp 2335 of Port Elgin before the parade. Justin has been with the cadets for four years, as has his officer, Jacob Silliker of Port Elgin, who received The Royal Canadian Legion Cadet Medal of Excellence at the award ceremony following the parade. This award is given to those who not only excel in cadets but also are active outside of cadets and achieve excellence in school.

The award ceremony was attended by many senior members of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets, Colonel Donald Bourque, Senator Carolyn Stewart-Olsen and Port Elgin Mayor Judy Scott, who was the Reviewing Officer.

The parade started at Port Elgin School, went straight through town and ended, after the ceremonies, at the Exhibition grounds, where the proud cadets and their superiors were given a generous reception.

Fire Chief criticizes council

Dorchester fire chief criticizes council
Published Thursday April 21st, 2011
by Meg Edwards
Times & Transcript staff

DORCHESTER – Volunteer Fire Chief Greg Partridge chided village councillors in council chambers this week for not attending a recent public consultation meeting on regional amalgamation.

“This is a new government and it is important to be involved,” said Partridge, who has strong emotions about protecting his volunteer fire department from the effects of regional amalgamation. “I don’t want our fire department to be a Station 2 to Sackville.”

Partridge encouraged all the councillors to attend the next public meeting held by the Department of Local Government, planned for Tuesday, May 10 at 6:45 p.m. at the Riverview Lions Centre.

Mayor Melvin Goodland said that he had been attending meetings on the subject for many years, with Councillor Grant MacDonald adding that earlier forms of the Finn Report had been an “all or nothing” concept but the present government seemed to be considering a piecemeal approach.

Councillor Kim MacLeod expressed the conviction that the Finn Report would be “imposed upon the municipalities” whether they liked it or not, while Councillor Jerome Bear said that he thought that the government had never stopped working towards amalgamation.

In discussing Sackville’s written response to a survey about amalgamation given by the Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick, the councillors agreed with much of what Sackville reported. It was agreed that the good aspects of amalgamation would be property tax expansions, sharing of services, and getting the LSDs to pay more of what they cost. On the negative side, the councillors agreed that proposed changes could cost more than they would bring in, even accounting for the increase in property taxes from the unincorporated areas, and would also create job losses. Councillors Macleod, MacDonald and Bear agreed that Dorchester would not be against amalgamating the smaller LSDs in their region into Dorchester.

“Because we look after them already,” said MacLeod, adding that some services would benefit from amalgamation, such as police or garbage collection, because a larger population base could have more bargaining power. Goodland pointed out that amalgamation in some situations could broaden the pool of volunteers for committees.

Sackville honors poet laureate Douglas Lochhead

Council honours cultural icon
Published Thursday April 14th, 2011
Sackville councillors also introduce a number of bylaws and discuss RCMP subsidy
BY MEG EDWARDS
TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF

Not many town council meetings begin with the reading of a poem, but in Sackville, the Cultural Capital of Canada, it is not unexpected.

In an ode to Sackville’s official Poet Laureate Douglas Lochhead, who died last spring, Sandy Burnett thanked council for their “vigorous support” of cultural activities and then read the poem, Breakfast at Mel’s, as well as a short poem about Sackville that was only recently discovered and will now be part of a bronze sculpture honouring Lochhead that is planned for the new City Hall. Senator Carolyn Stewart-Olsen was in attendance, shaking hands and introducing the beaming Evelyne Chapman as the Conservative candidate for the Beauséjour Riding.

An award presentation followed, with Director of Tourism, Rebekah Cant, giving a slide show of winning photographs of wintery scenes in Sackville and presenting the winners with prizes from local businesses.

As the actual meeting began, a selection of bylaws were introduced, reminding all present of the difficulties of a Maritime winter; a street traffic bylaw that highlighted the problem of sightlines on the street and snow piles, another to discourage residents from creating their own culverts, and the third, a bylaw on backflow prevention that is meant to “protect the town’s water supply,” says George Woodburn, Sackville’s Public Works and Engineering director. Woodburn said that although the Drew Nursing Home, the Sackville Hospital and Mount Allison University had proper systems, there are existing and new constructions that need to be monitored.

Fire Chief Craig Bowser reported that the fire department has decided to charge $500 plus HST for false fire alarms. Every house owner or PID number is allowed one free call a month. Bowser says that false alarm calls are costly, and that many calls were either “horseplay by students, mischievous pranks at commercial pull stations, or burnt food calls in the university.”

Bowser added that some alarms are faulty and set themselves off and that it is the responsibility of the owner to maintain them properly. The RCMP also announced some changes, with Corporal Denis Hache reporting that the RCMP will no longer attend fire alarms that are run by alarm companies, and that in the case of subpoena letters, the witness will receive a letter in the mail advising them of the court date and a location for them to pick up their own subpoena letter. Councillor Merrill Fullerton agreed with the changes saying that the police should “be on the ground and not spending their time delivering parcels.”

Sackville CAO Eric Mourant reported that after a preliminary evaluation, it was determined that the Town of Sackville provides approximately $200,000 of services to non-residents in surrounding communities for fire protection services and services related to the Civic Centre. Mourant says that the province’s contribution towards the services for non-residents is not enough and he has set up a meeting with the Department of Local Government to find out how to apply for financial compensation from the province.

Mourant also reminded the council that Sackville and the communities serviced by the Codiac RCMP (Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview) are the only ones in Canada that pay for 100 per cent of the costs related to police protection. Mourant reported that other communities of Sackville’s size pay 70 per cent of the cost, and that this inequality adds up to $350,000 per year, or approximately 7 cents on the property tax rate in Sackville.

Mourant urged councillors and citizens to consider this issue before voting. Councillor John Higham was supportive of the report, saying the amount of money that the CAO was trying to save the council was considerable and would go a long way to balance the budget when property assessments were down and the unconditional grant from the province “could be reduced or not even around” next year.

Baie Verte renews Advisory Committee

Baie Verte renews advisory committee
Published Thursday April 7th, 2011
Citizens vote to re-nominate Baie Verte Local Services District Advisory Committee
by meg edwards
Times & Transcript Staff

A small crowd of Baie Verte citizens re-nominated their Local Services District Advisory Committee Tuesday night, confident that they are one of the most active LSD’s of the province.

Gerry Chapman, Steven Werry, Mary Jo Murray and Maureen Allen are back in their seats until the next election in two years. Their most pressing issue at present is fixing the damage to their seaside park caused by storms and high tides during the winter storms.

Daniel Goguen, the local service manager from the Department of Local Government who officiated the election, explained that the role of the Advisory Committee is to provide local services and ensure the input of the residents.

The LSD Advisory Committee has no financial or contractual authority but is responsible for the yearly budget and administration of the parks and community hall.

New homeowners Tina Gaugin and Robert Mackenzie attended the meeting, and were curious how the community made decisions, such as renovations or upkeep of the hall. Goguen explained that the residents’ property taxes go towards many costs such as street lighting, solid waste pick up, and the fire department, with a limited amount dedicated to maintaining the hall or local parks.

Project proposals are passed by the Department of Local Government for approval, and park or hall improvements often become a community effort, with residents either applying for grants from the provincial government, or raising the money and labour within the community.

“There is no extra money,” said Murray, saying that the council was careful to cover important infrastructure costs before doing any outside projects.

Robert Mackenzie’s active involvement in the meeting lead to him accepting a position on the council.

“We need some fresh blood” said Chapman, who nominated him.