Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Council Approves Appointments to Boards, Commissions and Committees

Fredericton May 25, 2010) – Fredericton City Council today announced mid-term changes to the membership of its boards, commissions and committees. All appointments are effective May 26, 2010 and expire in May 2012

Coun. Mike O’Brien was reappointed Chair of the Finance and Administration Committee.

The Development Committee’s new Chair is Coun. Stephen Chase. Councillor Steven Hicks is the new Chair of the Community Services Committee.

The Public Safety & Environment Committee will be chaired by Coun. Megarity. Coun. Bruce Grandy will Chair of the Transportation Committee.

The Planning & Priorities Committee will be Chaired by Deputy Mayor Dan Keenan and includes all members of City Council.Coun. O’Brien will Chair the Fredericton Superannuation Board.

The Information Technology Committee remains unchanged with Coun. Stephen Kelly as Chair, Coun. McConaghy as Vice-Chair and councillors O’Brien and Megarity as members.

Coun. Chase is the City’s representative to the Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick and Coun. Megarity has been appointed to the Union’s Population Committee.

The Ad Hoc Committee on Immigration will continue to be chaired by Coun. Megarity and Coun. O’Brien is remaining as Chair of the Fredericton Affordable Housing Committee. Coun. O’Brien will be the City’s liaison with Business Fredericton North

Councillor Graham will also co-Chair the Mayor’s Working Committee on Community-University Relations.

Councillor Hicks will Chair the Negotiations Liaison Committee with councillors McConaghy, O’Brien, Whalen and Chase as members. Coun. Chase was also appointed to the Preservation Review Board.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Council in Brief (May 17/10)

Council considered several items during their regular Council-in-Committee meeting on May 17. They received an update from Dr. Shirley Cleave, co-chair of the Mayor’s Working Committee on Community / University Relations. Collaboration amongst all partners has improved the quality of life in Hill area. Dr. Cleave has completed her term as co-chair and was thanked for her efforts.

Council also debated whether or not to terminate the lease with the York Provincial Library and allow for the expansion of the Fredericton Public Library into the space they currently occupy. While the expansion of the Fredericton Public Library has been approved, the loss of income from the York lease concerned Council. City Council voted to terminate the lease.

The presentation by the Police Chief related to loud vehicular noise was deferred to June. Council also appointed Tina Tapley as the proxy for the municipal-owned corporation e-Novations ComNet Inc., replacing Marven Grant.
Contract awarded for Westmorland Street Bridge (as posted by Communications NB)
The provincial government has awarded a contract valued at more than $514,000 to HBH Paving Ltd. of Island View to repave the Westmorland Street Bridge. Environment Minister Rick Miles, Finance Minister Greg Byrne and Attorney General Kelly Lamrock made the announcement on Wednesday.

The paving, which will total 800 m, will not be scheduled on southbound lanes during the morning commute or on northbound lanes during the evening.

Drivers can expect to see crews on the bridge during non-peak driving times, on nights and weekends, at which time there will be some delays and lane reductions. The Department of Transportation is co-ordinating this project in a manner that minimizes the disruption on area residents. The City of Fredericton for working with DOT by granting an exemption to the municipal noise bylaw.

The paving must be completed by Friday, June 11, in advance of the scheduled closure of the Princess Margaret Bridge on Saturday, June 19.
N.B.'s Bricklin gets new life on stage (as posted by CBC NB on May 19/10)

A new musical will be staged this summer about an infamous chapter in New Brunswick history.

The Bricklin is being called an automotive fantasy. It tells the story of the real-life government-sponsored venture to manufacture a gull-winged sports car in New Brunswick in the 1970s.

"This is a crazy story," said Tim Yerxa, executive director of the Fredericton Playhouse, which commissioned the work. "We built a production car in New Brunswick. It was a dream of an American entrepreneur," he said. "It was a dream that New Brunswickers bought into — some New Brunswickers bought into and it was a dream of one of our most charismatic premiers, Richard Hatfield.”

The Bricklin eventually failed and New Brunswick taxpayers lost millions of dollars.

Bricklin was written by Allen Cole and Paul Ledoux. It is co-produced with Theatre New Brunswick. It opens July 30.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Beaverbrook Art Gallery loaning Dali painting to Atlanta (excerpts from CBC NB posting of May 14/10)

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is giving up its most famous painting for the summer in the hope that it will draw future tourists to the Fredericton gallery.

Salvador Dali's Santiago El Grande is leaving the Beaverbrook Art Gallery for the first time since it arrived in 1959 so it can be part of an exhibit in Atlanta, Ga.

The Dali painting is often used in promotional material to draw tourists to New Brunswick's capital city.

In Santiago El Grande, Dali painted the patron saint of Spain rising over the coast of Spain at Campostella on a white Lipizzan stallion.

The gallery is preparing the three by four-metre painting for travel, which will take months. Visitors to the gallery can observe the process until the painting leaves in July.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fredericton's Lunar Rogue Pub Makes Top 20 "Great Whisky Bars of the World"

Whiskey Magazine, the premier magazine on the world of whiskey, recently published their choices for the Top 20 Whiskey Bar's in the World. Fredericton's own Lunar Rogue Pub made the list, for the second time. Congratulations to Frank & Brian (also on celebrating your 21st anniversary earlier this week).

The Canadian bars to make the Top 20 are:
The Lunar Rogue Pub, Fredericton
Allen’s, Toronto
Buchanan’s, Calgary
The Feathers, Toronto
Via Allegro, Toronto

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

City Council Appoints Tapley Acting City Treasurer

City Council has approved the appointment of Tina Tapley to the position of Acting City Treasurer. Ms Tapley succeeds former City Treasurer Marven Grant who retired May 6 after a 40-year career with the municipality. Me (as Finance Chair) welcoming Tina

Ms. Tapley has been with the City since 1998 serving as Assistant City Treasurer and Manager of Financial Services. Previous to that, Ms. Tapley worked in private practice for five years with the chartered accounting firms Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Saint John and Grant Thornton in Fredericton. She is a 1992 Business Administration graduate of the University of New Brunswick with a concentration in accounting. She received her Chartered Accountant designation in 1996.

A Member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and New Brunswick Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ms. Tapley received a Certificate in Local Government Administration from Dalhousie University, Henson College in May 2003.

The appointment is effective May 6, 2010.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

City's unemployment rates down(excerpts from an article publiched by the Daily Gleaner May 08/10)

The unemployment rate in Fredericton fell in April as more people in the capital have work than this time last year. According to the latest figures released by Statistics Canada on Friday, the capital's unemployment rate is 4.7 per cent, down from 4.9 per cent in March. A year ago in April, Fredericton's unemployment rate was 6.8 per cent.

New Brunswick's other two big cities also saw a drop in their unemployment rate. Saint John's unemployment rate was 7.5 per cent, down from 7.6 per cent in March but up compared to 6.2 per cent in April 2009. Moncton's unemployment rate was down to seven per cent from 7.3 per cent in March but again up from 5.9 per cent in April 2009.

New Brunswick's unemployment rate fell from 8.7 per cent in March to 8.5 per cent in April. New Brunswick's labour force stood at 401,500, which is 200 more than in the previous month and 1,700 more than in the same month last year.

New Brunswick's unemployment rate is also down 0.3 of a percentage from the same month last year.

Visit the following link for the full Daily Gleaner story:
High School Students Invited to Participate in Creating Art for the Grant-Harvey Centre
Fredericton (May 6, 2010)

The City of Fredericton is once again recruiting high school students interested in helping to create a series of murals to be displayed prominently in the lobby of the Grant-Harvey Centre, the municipality’s new sports and leisure complex currently under construction on Knowledge Park Drive.

A group of students working on the first four of eight panels has almost completed their colourful works of art depicting athletic activities and organizers are now seeking a new group of students to create the final four.

The theme of the art works is tied into the City’s in motion campaign, which is designed to keep people active, and the panels will show people in a variety of athletic pursuits. A core group of six students has been working on the murals every Saturday since early January. The finished size of each of the panels is 4x4 feet.

The project is a great opportunity for students to work with a professional artist, learn art and design techniques, and to be part of creating something which will be ‘hanging around’ in an exciting new sports facility for years to come.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

38 complaints lodged against city police officers

Thirty-eight formal complaints were lodged against members of the Fredericton Police Force last year.Under the city's quality management system, the police force has its own internal Office of Professional Standards responsible for conducting internal investigations.

In 2009, eight of the 38 formal complaints against police officers were determined to be unfounded. Five complaints were resolved through a settlement conference and four were informally resolved. Four were dismissed and 22, or 67 per cent, remain under investigation. Of the 38 complaints, 32 were generated externally and six complaints were generated internally, said the report handed to the city's public safety committee this week.

External complaints range from discourteous behaviour to excessive force. Internal complaints mostly pertain to minor disciplinary matters such as members missing court appearances.
Thirty-six of the complaints related to police conduct under the New Brunswick Police Act and 11 of the 36 complaints were initially investigated as possible criminal offences.

The number of internal investigations conducted by the Fredericton Police Force in 2009 is on par with figures for the past five years. The majority of external complaints about officers were reported to the department, while 15 per cent came through the New Brunswick Police Commission.

The police force received 24,459 calls for service and issued more than 14,071 tickets in 2009, for a total of 38,530 contacts with the public. Roughly 0.1 per cent of calls for service resulted in a complaint.

"I think the numbers speak for themselves. That's pretty low," said Coun. Mike O'Brien. The councillor is asking the police force to obtain figures from the New Brunswick Police Commission to see where Fredericton stacks up against other New Brunswick cities in terms of complaints.

Following is the link to the Daily Gleaner article posted May 06/10:

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Fredericton to Participate in Heat Alert Pilot Project (May 4, 2010)
Three-level system designed to protect most vulnerable from heat related illness
Fredericton will be one of four Canadian communities to participate in a heat alert pilot project during the summer of 2010. The three-level system is designed to protect the public, especially the most vulnerable, from heat-related illness.

The effort is part of a Health Canada Extreme Heat and Health Project, and is being coordinated at the provincial level by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. The City of Fredericton’s Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) Committee serves as the municipal contact.

Over the next 40 years it is expected that the number of days above 30ÂșC in Fredericton will triple. Research and past experience shows that heat is a major health risk.

Communications around extreme heat events will be a key component in protecting citizens. Timely and accurate information must be distributed. Individuals and organizations will need to become more aware of the threats from extreme heat and what actions to take to protect themselves and others in their care.

To assist in this regard, a Heat Alert and Response System (HARS) has been developed. The goal is to reduce heat-related illness and deaths in the public, especially the most vulnerable such as older adults, young children and the socially disadvantaged.

Using temperature and humidex information, three alert levels may be issued. Each level identifies those most impacted by extreme heat and identifies what responses and actions are needed. The following levels are identified:

· Heat Alert (Level 1): The most vulnerable may be affected. The main cause of illness and death at this level is the aggravation of pre-existing respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

· High Heat Alert (Level 2): Everyone is at risk of heat stress and heat stroke at this level.

· Extreme Heat Alert (Level 3): Everyone is at high risk for heat-related illnesses and heat stroke. To prevent heat illnesses, it will be important to take immediate action to stay cool and drink plenty of cool fluids, especially water, before feeling thirsty.

In all cases the public will be advised through information releases and updates to the heat alert web site. Various organizations involved with community health will increase their activity to further protect vulnerable individuals, depending on the heat alert level. In an extreme heat alert, cooling centres may be opened.
City Begins Process to Establish Fredericton Lands Commission(April 26, 2010)

Fredericton City Council has begun the process of establishing a Fredericton Lands Commission. The Commission will engage in strategic real estate development using municipally-owned land that has been declared surplus.

The goal of the Commission is to work with local developers to further commercial and residential development in the City. Many of the pieces of land declared as surplus by the City are of interest to private developers and adjacent land owners for redevelopment purposes. By bringing these land holdings into the market in a timely fashion, the Commission can optimize the financial and community value that comes from such properties.

Start up funding for the Commission will come from various City departments. These funds will help service the land and make it market ready. Any funds acquired from land sales will be re-invested back into the Commission for future development efforts.

The bylaw to form the Commission, which received first and second reading at the regular Council meeting on April 26, outlines the work of the Commission, names the board of directors, sets financial limits, and identifies the reporting process to City Council. Third and final reading for the formation of the Fredericton Lands Commission is scheduled for the regular Council meeting in two weeks.

To find out more about municipal land holdings currently for sale, contact Calvin Thompson, Real Estate Manager for the City of Fredericton at 506-460-2036.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Council in Brief: April 26

It was a long agenda for the Council meeting of April 26. The Mayor started the meeting by announcing the City had received its ISO 9001:2008 re-certification. Numerous special events were approved, including FredRock, to be held near the rugby club this year.

Further to the artificial turf field announcement of April 16, City Council authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to sign the necessary documents. Paperwork related to the first phase of funding for the Fredericton Area Pollution Control Plant was also authorized.

Authorization was given to acquire property from 271 Regent Street to add to the public right of way. (A tender was later approved to jack the building up, move it back and put a new foundation under it.) Property was also acquired at 633 Queen Street to facilitate street widening for the convention centre.

Approval was given to install a commemorative monument for Alexander “Boss” Gibson along the trail near Carleton Park. Seven tenders for roads & streets, water & sewer projects were approved. Five buildings were added to the Local Historic Places Register.

First and second reading was given to a bylaw to establish the Fredericton Lands Commission. Third reading was given to new parking rates and times, to come into effect on May 1.
Fredericton Named Fourth Best Place to Live in Canada

For the fourth straight year, Fredericton has been named to the Top 10 List of Canada's Best Places to Live by MoneySense magazine. Fredericton finished fourth in the annual Money Sense survey of 179 Canadian cities with populations greater than 50,000.

“This is a great accomplishment and one the entire community should be very proud of”, said Mayor Brad Woodside.

The rankings are based on the following indicators: sunshine factor (weather and climate), affordable housing, prosperity (discretionary income, employment/job prospects, new cars, taxes), and lifestyle (population growth, health care, crime, walk/bike to work, number of people utilizing public transit, and cultural/recreational amenities).

Fredericton scored high in the rankings for affordable housing in comparison to other Canadian cities, and for high levels of employment and job prospects.

Ottawa, ON, was named the best place to live in Canada followed by Kingston, ON; Burlington, ON; Fredericton, NB; Moncton, NB; Repentigny, QC; Brandon, MB; Victoria, BC; Winnipeg, MB; and Levis, QC.

Money Sense is Canada's best selling investment and lifestyle magazine. It is published six times a year by Rogers Media.
PAC backs exemption for hotel - Hilton Building to be located beside convention centre

The approval process that will see a Hilton Garden Inn property developed beside Fredericton's downtown convention centre is on track. The planning advisory committee is recommending a height exemption to allow the 126-room hotel to reach 36 metres.

City council has set May 10 at 7:30 p.m. as the time to present the proposed zoning bylaw to allow for the height alteration. At that meeting, council will then set a date to hold a public hearing of objections on the project and to proceed to first and second reading of the bylaw.

Dora Construction is the contractor on the project. The hotel builder is D.P. Murphy Inc. of Charlottetown, P.E.I. The company most recently built the Hampton Inn in Moncton, which is a Hilton Hotel product.

It has developed the Charlottetown Super 8 Motel and two Holiday Inn Express hotels in Charlottetown and Saint John. The company also runs Tim Hortons and Wendy's franchises.

The 11-storey hotel will be of similar height to the Bank of Montreal building. Even though the Bank of Montreal only has nine storeys, the way it was built with allowance for servicing conduit space will make the two structures comparable in height.

The Hilton Garden Inn will have a 60-seat restaurant and 30-seat cocktail lounge. It's expected to take 12 to 14 months to build, plus an allowance for design time.

Following is a link to the Daily Gleaner article on the issue