Friday, April 27, 2012

City shouldn’t be singled out for job cuts



26 Apr 2012 05:34PM

Why is Fredericton being singled out for provincial government job cuts?

Figures made public this week reveal that nearly half of the 613 civil service jobs eliminated last year came from Fredericton.

Since this is New Brunswick’s capital city and no heavy industry exists here — such as in other areas of the province — government jobs are Fredericton’s bread and butter.

To single out this city for the vast majority of cuts is unjust.

Where are Fredericton’s Tory MLAs and why are they not speaking out?

This should be a high priority for them, considering they were elected by residents of this area to serve citizens and, presumably, to protect our interests.

Mayor Brad Woodside, currently engaged in a battle to win another term in office, believes the city is being unfairly singled out for civil service job cuts. He said an analysis of the province’s workforce profile documents for 2010-11 shows more jobs were cut in Fredericton than in Saint John and Moncton combined.

According to those figures, nearly 46 per cent of the 613 civil service jobs eliminated in 2011 came from Fredericton, even though only 25.5 per cent of civil service jobs were located in the capital at the beginning of 2011.

Fredericton was home to 45.84 per cent of the eliminated jobs in 2011, whereas Saint John had 17.13 per cent and Moncton had 16.15 per cent, the 2011 workforce document shows.

The provincial government has said more civil service job reductions are coming in 2012, but it hasn’t said how many.

The mayor said he understands the need by the province to trim its deficit but wonders why everyone is not feeling the pain.

It’s a legitimate question that deserves an answer.

Mayor Woodside’s competition in the yet to be decided 2012 mayor’s race, Matthew Hayes, agrees that Fredericton isn’t being treated fairly by the province.

Mr. Hayes said one of the reasons New Brunswick is in a bad fiscal situation is the provincial government failed to restore tax levels to the 2008 level.

“The top 1 1/2 per cent of the provincial population was going to receive almost 20 per cent of the tax cut,” he said.

“That’s simply not fair.”

Civil servants are a vital part of Fredericton’s economy.

The province owes Fredericton an explanation as to why there’s such a difference in the figures and why they are so squarely unfavourable to this city.

It’s important these questions be answered as soon as possible so some kind of strategy can be created to prevent it from happening again.

In the meantime, it’s time for Fredericton’s MLAs to be more visible on this issue.

Regardless of the need for restraint in tough economic times, voters have long memories and it’s unlikely they’ll forget being ignored when support is needed the most.

Mikey Vokey named new FREX executive director


For the Daily Gleaner

27 Apr 2012 12:15AM

The board of the Fredericton Exhibition introduced a new executive director and a new vision Thursday for the 185-year-old event.

Mikey Vokey was officially welcomed by the board and several members of the community during a reception at the Fredericton Inn. He brings agricultural experience and an ambitious direction for the exhibition, with plans to culminate in a nationally renowned fair to celebrate its bi-centennial in 2027.

Vokey said before achieving that dream, organizers must take small steps in building relationships with the community.

“We want the local campuses involved; we want the local businesses involved,” said Vokey. “We need your support and we want to make this an unforgettable experience.”

He’s looking to build a bigger, more diversed audience, while raising awareness for the industry. FREX will also launch a new website this summer and can be found on Facebook and Twitter (@Frex4Fun).

“We really want people to see the facility as the asset it is,” Vokey said.

“During FREX week, we shouldn’t be able to get a hotel room in the capital. You shouldn’t go to eat at a restaurant during the week and not expect a lineup.”

Vokey’s recent post was Cavendish Agri Services’ director of operations.

“Mike comes to FREX equipped with decades of experience, business management, volunteerism, and marketing and promotion,” said Tony Decourcey, board member.

“We absolutely made the right choice.”

While Vokey wants to preserve the traditions that follow one of Canada’s longest-running exhibitions, he also recognizes the need to attract younger demographics.

The 2012 FREX takes place Sept. 2-8, the same time thousands of university students arrive in the capital city. Engaging the student population is a must, he said.

The first Sunday has been dedicated to bringing in entertainment and events that appeal to a younger group.

He would like to see the university as well as Canadian Forces Base Gagetown join in as planners, not just spectators.

“What we really need is for them to come out and say here’s a type of event that we’ll come and see,” he said. “It’s about finding out what product they want, making some changes and adapting because we’ve got the venue.”

Mayor Brad Woodside welcomed Vokey.

“I’m excited (he’s) taking on a new vision and changes,” said Woodside.

“During the upcoming FREX, when people walk in the door they should be able to see that something’s happened.”

Vokey said he believes people will stand up and take notice.

“The reason I took the job is the potential,” he said. “There’s so much potential to reach out ... it’s not about dwelling on the past but embracing heritage and moving forward.”

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Urban chickens get another year to roost



26 Apr 2012 03:10AM

A Fredericton woman whose one-year experiment with urban chicken-keeping hasn’t ruffled any feathers amongst her neighbours has received a one-year temporary use variance to continue keeping three hens for a second year.

Hazel Richardson said Wednesday she was pleased to hear the city’s planning department will lay out a definitive process to allow other urbanites to keep backyard hens in residential zones as part of a review of the city’s umbrella zoning bylaw.

The planning advisory committee a year ago approved pilot projects, one on either side of the St. John River, and neither experiment appears to have caused alarm.

Initially, residents expressed concerns to the committee about the notion of allowing chickens to be kept in backyard pens for home egg production. Those fears ranged from the possibilities of odour and noise to disease transmission and threats from predators.

“They are going to look into how the bylaw is going to be changed, so you know what size of property, the distance from neighbouring properties and that kind of thing,” Richardson said. “The city have been very good to work with. They’ve been very clear and transparent. I set out to do the pilot to show whether there would be issues and there haven’t been any reported.”

Richardson, who lives at the lower end of Hanwell Road, built a backyard chicken coop and screened it with lattice at the request of her immediate neighbour. Other nearby residents were surprised to learn that Richardson and her family are scrupulous about the removal of chicken manure, distributing it to gardeners who take away quantities for composting, while they also retain small amounts of the chicken waste for their own garden composter.

The city’s planning department confirmed Richardson’s experiment has gone well over the past year.

“There have been no complaints from the neighbours regarding any of the initial concerns for having a backyard hen operation in a residential zone ... Many neighboring residents did not even know that she kept hens in her backyard until The Daily Gleaner published an article about it,” said a report handed to the committee Wednesday evening at its meeting.

The northside hen-keeping operation is ending of its own accord as the property owner in that case is moving to a more rural setting.


Queen Street takes top spot in national competition



26 Apr 2012 07:59AM

Queen Street in downtown Fredericton has been named Canada’s Great Street in the Great Places in Canada contest.

The contest is hosted by the Canadian Institute of Planners and the results are dictated by four months of voting with more than 200,000 e-ballots cast by people from across the country. This is the second year for the contest.

The top places were selected based on popularity and planning excellence, and judged by a panel of experts.

“Fredericton’s Queen Street shone in the competition because its historical buildings, open spaces, unique shops and people-friendly sidewalks provide the ideal setting for a wide range of community activities,” said Richard Parker, one of the judges.

Martin Frigo, a member of the institute’s communications advisory committee, said New Brunswick’s capital city should be proud of the designation.

“The submission for Queen Street was just amazing and it really clearly demonstrated the qualities of Queen Street. It very much promotes social and economic diversification. It has a memorable and unique character to it. It’s such a central component in Fredericton. There’s so many different uses along Queen Street,” Frigo said.

The judges had a sense of the many activities that take place along the street year-round.

“These are very much qualities of a great street. It’s just something that Fredericton should very much be proud of. There’s a strong sense of culture and a liveliness to it,” he said.

Fredericton won out over 15 streets from across Canada, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s residential address on Sussex Drive in Ottawa,

“There was strong competition in that category,” Frigo said.

Queen Street in picturesque Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ont. was another contender for the country’s greatest street, he said.

Only in its second year, the contest is growing in countrywide popularity. The first year of the contest, 75,000 Canadians voted for their favourite street, neighbourhood or public space.

This year, online voting hit the 200,000 mark, Frigo said.

“It brings out that hometown pride and a little bit of friendly rivalry,” he said.

“We have received a multitude of awards by third parties validating the kinds of things that are happing here in Fredericton and this is just another example,” said Mayor Brad Woodside.

“Queen Street is just a wonderful gem. It’s a downtown that acts as an example to the rest of the country on how downtowns not only are important and the focal point of the community, but can survive and can do quite well.”

The Canadian Institute of Planners hosts the competition because it wants to celebrate the public spaces Canadians love the most.

“The second reason is really to highlight the role that professional planners play in helping to create these great places,” he said. “We’re definitely just one of a group of professionals that do help and promote these great places.”

Ninety eligible nominations were received. The contest’s three categories include Canada’s Great Street, Canada’s Great Neighbourhood and Canada’s Public Space. Osborne Village in Winnipeg won in the neighbourhood category. The Cape Forchu Lighthouse at Yarmouth, N.S., won in the public space category.

The top locations are chosen not only because of popularity, but because of the high standards and planning principles they embrace.

Fredericton’s win will be profiled along with the other winning entries in WestJet’s inflight magazine called up! Every month, the magazine reaches about 1.4 million passengers.

“Anything that we can get in promotional material to the country or internationally is a bonus,” Woodside said. “Now what I would like is for WestJet to fly into Fredericton with their magazines so we can read them here.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

City lands 2013 world sr. curling


24 Apr 2012 08:16AM

(Excerpts from the article published in the Fredericton Daily Gleaner on April 24, 2012. The link for the full article apears at the end of this entry)
The World Curling Federation and the Canadian Curling Association announced Monday that the City of Fredericton will host the 2013 world senior men’s and women’s curling championships and world mixed doubles.

All three world championships will take place at the new Grant•Harvey Centre, April 13-20, 2013. Approximately 30 teams are expected to compete for global honours in mixed doubles, while almost 40 teams will seek to capture the senior men’s and senior women’s world titles.

The federation, the association and the city hammered out an agreement to host the events even before the finishing touches are in place on the new $29.5-million Grant•Harvey Centre.

The indoor ice hockey arena should be completed by June with a grand opening later in the summer or early fall. The arena boasts an Olympic ice oval with 500 bench-style seats and NHL-scale ice with 1,500 seats.

Host committee executive director is 2000 Brier runner-up Wayne Tallon, with both the Fredericton Curling Club and Capital Winter Club acting as co-chairs and host clubs.

“We are delighted to be returning to New Brunswick for two events which will run side by side in 2013 — the world mixed doubles curling championship and the world senior curling championships,” said World Curling Federation president Kate Caithness.

“Following on from the success of the 2009 Ford world men’s curling championship in Moncton, the World Curling Federation is looking forward to being able to showcase the discipline of mixed doubles curling in Canada and, at the same time, offer a world-class senior curling championship event for curling fans to enjoy.”

This will mark the first time that Canada will host the world mixed doubles, which began in 2008 in Vierumaki, Finland. However, Canada has previously staged the world seniors in 2003 in Winnipeg and 2007 in Edmonton, since the championships officially began in 2002 in Bismarck, North Dakota.

“We are pleased to be able to partner with the World Curling Federation and the City of Fredericton on hosting these major world curling championships,” said Greg Stremlaw, chief executive officer of the Canadian Curling Association.

“We can’t wait to showcase the newly built Grant•Harvey Centre,” said Mayor Brad Woodside. “Our community embraces events like this, and I am sure that the athletes, the Canadian Curling Association and the World Curling Federation will be treated to some of the finest hospitality our hotels, restaurants, attractions and residents have to offer.”

Fredericton has hosted the 1975 Brier, 1988 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, 1965 Canadian junior men’s, 1985 Canadian junior women’s, 2005 Canadian juniors (men and women) and the 1980 Canadian senior women’s.

For the 2013 world seniors, Canada’s colours will be worn by Alberta’s Cathy King of Edmonton and Rob Armitage of Red Deer, Alta., winners of the Canadian seniors in Abbotsford, B.C. in March.


At a recent meeting of the City of Fredericton Affordable Housing Committee, which I chair, the Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation surprised me with this recognition.

Thank you!

Now, let's all stay focused on ensuring everyone has a safe and affordable place to call home.



24 APR 2012 03:25AM
Northside residents who want land at 49 Ferris St. to remain open space and agricultural land in perpetuity scored a victory in seeing their application go through the rezoning process.
City councillors Monday night agreed to support a motion from Coun. Dan Keenan, seconded by Coun. Steven Hicks, that the Sunset Strawberry U-Pick land and the surrounding city-owned acreage be rezoned open space and agriculture from its current R-2H (residential holding) status.
The citizens group lobbied for the land to remain in its natural state as an untamed park area for the Douglas area. City councillors rejected the idea of using the 38-hectare (94-acre) site for future residential housing development. In doing so, the city would be giving up nearly $1 million in annual tax revenue, based on the fact that site could house 231 units each valued at $275,000.
Three councillors voted against Keenan’s proposal at Monday night’s council-in-committee session. Coun. Stephen Chase said he has to look at the big picture for all taxpayers and wasn’t going to support relinquishing the potential future tax revenue. Coun. Mike O’Brien said the city has already spent more than $1.5 million buying land for the massive 882-hectare (2,180-acre) Killarney Lake wilderness park on the north side and there’s adequate park space. Coun. Tony Whalen also voted against the rezoning proposal.
The city also has the 332-hectare (825-acre) Odell Park on the south side of the city, O’Brien said.
But the rest of city council sided with the sentiment of residents who want the land left in its natural state.
“I am happy. I certainly didn’t expect that there would necessarily be full support. There are issues every time you take pieces of property out of possible development. There’s a cost, so people will look at that, but overall, council felt that the benefits outweighed the costs and I agree with that wholeheartedly,” Keenan said.
The Ward 1 (Douglas) councillor said he’ll be looking for the continued support of city councillors after the land goes through its rezoning process and comes back to city council for a final vote.
Keenan said there was some debate about rezoning the city-owned land to park, but the agricultural and open space zoning better fits the desire of residents to have a natural green area.
The city’s real estate manager, Calvin Thompson, presented four scenarios to council, including one to leave the zoning as is and others that would have included partial residential development of the site. Thompson also identified wetland areas in and around the Nashwaaksis stream and on another portion of the site that cannot be developed.
Less than 15-hectares, or about 36-acres, would have to remain open space since they are wetland areas.
Residents also support the continued operation of an 8.5-hectare (21-acre) strawberry u-pick business. Should that business close and the lease with the city ended, they suggest community gardens would be suited to the portion of the land.
Resident Alan Haines, who worked to gather nearly 3,000 names on a citywide petition supporting the preservation of the green space, said the group only considers it’s halfway home on the project.
The rezoning must now go through the planning advisory committee process, and Haines said the group won’t be settled until the process is finished and there’s a final answer later this summer.
“We’re pleased. The group put a lot of work into this overall, getting signatures and not knowing how the city conducts its business, but it looks favourable at this point,” Haines said.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Fredericton study calls for more zebra crosswalks


20 Apr 2012 03:42AM
(Excerpts from the original article published April 20, 2012)
A new pedestrian safety report is recommending zebra, or striped crosswalk markings, be installed at more than 100 locations on Fredericton’s streets.
The report, by Opus Consultants, also recommends right-hand turns on red lights be eliminated at some of the city’s more dangerous intersections for pedestrians.
But the report, which was received by Fredericton’s transportation committee Thursday, recommends against re-implementing scramble crosswalks.
The report identified 46 pedestrian safety issues and recommended 25 countermeasures in three categories: pedestrian and driver behaviour, maintenance and infrastructure improvements.
“We’re really happy with the product we got,” said Fredericton traffic engineer Darren Charters after the committee meeting.
“Opus took a look across the country, their own experience in the city and public input so they pulled together a really unique document for Fredericton.
“There is a lot of information in it.”
Fredericton has 170 marked crosswalks in four different categories.
Over the last 41/2 years there have been 127 collisions involving pedestrians in Fredericton, resulting in three fatalities and 116 injuries. Ironically, 41 per cent were at signalized intersections.
Opus found those collision statistics are in line with other jurisdictions.
Part of the study included 718 surveys on pedestrian safety issues from the public.
“That’s pretty darn impressive and reflective of how important this is for citizens,” said Mark Gunter of Opus.
He said the benefit of zebra crosswalks is improved visibility from the driver’s perspective and for pedestrians with poor vision, and better visibility in the winter and spring, even when the paint is faded or the area is covered with snow and ice.
The downside is increased cost and maintenance.
Fredericton only has zebra crosswalk markings in school zones.
The report recommended the city do a study on where it could eliminate right turns on red lights to reduce conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians.
Charters said it will be studied. “We’ve got to be careful with those,” he said. “We’ve got to educate the public (and) that really hurts the capacity of intersections. “It’s not off the table.”
Fredericton used to have scramble crosswalks in the downtown. The pedestrian report recommended against re-implementing scramble crosswalks because it reduces traffic flow by stopping traffic in all directions.
But it also causes problems for the hearing impaired, who use audio cues. The longer waits for pedestrians could result in people becoming impatient and not waiting for the crossing light, said Opus.
“I’m not surprised,” said Charters. “There’s a reason they were taken out all over North America in the ‘90s.”
Other report recommendations include improving pedestrian safety, adjusting signal timings, adding more refuge islands and redesigning right turn slip lanes to slow down traffic.
Charters said he expects to come back to transportation committee by June with an implementation strategy.

Calgary firm hopes to strike gold near capital


20 Apr 2012 03:43AM
A Calgary-based company plans to spend the next year hunting for gold and copper on a large tract of land west of Fredericton, the first of 15 properties StrikePoint Gold is eyeing for exploration in Atlantic Canada.
StrikePoint (TSXV:SKP) will launch its exploration work on the Pokiok project within the next month. The hunt will take place over 5,468 hectares of land located 45 kilometres west of the New Brunswick capital.
Ideally, StrikePoint will find the Pokiok property “stuffed” full of gold and copper, says company chairman and CEO Richard Boulay.
“We’re looking for very, very large footprint deposits,” he said from Calgary on Thursday. “It is exploration, so there is risk. But if you look at the risk versus potential reward … it’s really, really excellent.”
Boulay says the Pokiok area is strewn with large boulders and rocky outcrops that reveal the presence of numerous elements and metals, including gold, silver, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc and antimony.
“We’ve found a whole menu of metallic stuff just lying in big boulders on the ground,” he said.
To this point, StrikePoint’s activity has been restricted to “reconnaissance operations”. But the company will soon start more detailed exploration of the Pokiok property.
Boulay says the company will spend at least $200,000 exploring the property over the next 12 months. Additional exploration dollars could flow depending on the company’s findings.
“The contribution into the local economy in the first year will be fairly modest,” he said. “It starts off pretty small, but if you have success, it ramps up quickly in terms of costs and local impact.
“I want to be positive, but I don’t want to mislead anyone … It’s an exploration play.”
According to Boulay, the property is rugged but easily accessible. An aerial map of the area reveals the Pokiok property spans both sides of the St. John River. The Trans-Canada Highway slices across the northern end of the property.
“The infrastructure is incredible. There’s cell phone coverage. You can walk into it. It’s great,” Boulay said.
The Pokiok property is just the first of many “targets” StrikePoint is aiming for in Atlantic Canada.
Last October, the company pulled away from an investment it held in the Dufferin gold mine near Sheet Harbour, N.S. According to Boulay, the company decided to push its cash into exploring new areas.
StrikePoint is now eyeing up to 15 properties across New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Boulay said StrikePoint could secure three or four of those properties within the next year.
“We believe it’s an unexplored area,” Boulay said of the Atlantic region. “That is a strange thing to say because it was the area first explored going back 300 to 400 years. But technology changes everything. Old land becomes new land.”

Pothole app created in Fredericton


CBC News

Posted: Apr 16, 2012 1:00 PM AT

Last Updated: Apr 16, 2012 2:51 PM AT

A new iPhone app has been created by two University of New Brunswick students and a recent graduate to alert municipal officials of potholes in Fredericton and other cities.

Coady and Drew Cameron think their Totalpave app, which should be ready to launch next year, can save cities tens of thousands of dollars.

The Fredericton brothers, who are fourth year engineering students, and their friend Mark Feero created the app to help cities better maintain roads.

Using GPS and a motion detector, the app sends information about a bad pothole straight to city hall.
“The way we plan on doing this is using an iPhone…to calculate the measurement between bumps and valleys in a roadway,” Drew Cameron said.

The application will isolate the point in a road that is degrading.

The app has been under development for six months, and it's a good fit for the brothers.
Coady Cameron matched his civil engineering knowledge with Drew Cameron’s business know-how.
“I've just been learning about this kind of stuff in school and the standard way that they collect this data, it just seems so similar to technology available with smartphones today.”

The app won the national Nicol Entrepreneurial Award last month in Ottawa.

The award, founded by businessman Wes Nicol in 1997, is designed to generate and reward interest in entrepreneurship on the part of undergraduate students at participating universities across Canada.

Toward greener, smarter cities

Friday, April 20, 2012
Environmentally friendly initiatives help cities cut down on pollution and lower their energy costs, among other benefits

Special to The Globe and Mail

When Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside delivered the 2006 State of the City address, he put aside his prepared remarks. Mr. Woodside had just returned from a business trip to China, where he had seen a booming economy but also widespread pollution. In his impromptu speech, the mayor called on the citizens of Fredericton to protect the environment.

The New Brunswick capital was no slouch in the sustainability department. For example, Fredericton had saved energy and money by retrofitting 18 municipal buildings. It had also joined the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program back in 2000.

But Mr. Woodside wanted his city to do more. So in 2007, Fredericton launched a community outreach strategy called Green Matters.

The next year, it established the Green Shops program, which recognizes local businesses for shrinking their environmental footprint. Then in spring, 2011, the city of 56,000 piloted the Green Matters Certified program for not-for-profits.

"I'm not about to argue the pros and cons or who's right and who's wrong," Mr. Woodside says of climate change. "But if we take it more seriously and start in our own homes and our own businesses, the most terrible thing that's going to happen to you is you're going to notice that your expenses come down."

Fredericton is just one example of how smaller cities can make themselves greener and more sustainable by engaging local residents and businesses. Municipalities improve their odds of success if they set goals and measure results.

Mr. Woodside says he was amazed by the response to his challenge. By 2009, Fredericton had brought municipal government greenhouse gas emissions down to 16 per cent below its 2000 benchmark. Last January, the FCM certified it as the fourth Canadian municipality to reach all five PCP milestones. More than 80 businesses have joined Fredericton's Green Shops program. As part of the city's infrastructure renewal efforts, the Grant-Harvey Centre sports complex has geothermal heating and cooling.

We welcome gallery’s new beginning

By The Daily Gleaner


23 Apr 2012 08:24AM

Fredericton’s and New Brunswick’s shining art star took a deep breath and embarked on what promises to be a fine future last week.

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery announced a new partnership with the National Bank that Beaverbrook Campaign manager Nancy Coy calls more significant than a simple donation.

We see it as a new life that raises the horizons for what has long been described as one of this city’s greatest assets.

In late 2011, Beaverbrook Art Gallery CEO Bernard Riordon said there isn’t a city in Canada of Fredericton’s size that houses the art treasures in the Beaverbrook collection. That, of course, is the envy of many communities.

When Lord Beaverbrook built the art gallery in 1958, he also dressed its walls with the best of art from his private collection, and through the Canada Beaverbrook and U.K. Beaverbrook foundations, the facility was gifted with $200,000 annually to support operating costs.

That funding ended abruptly in 2003 with the widely publicized bitter court fight between Lord Beaverbrook’s heirs and the gallery.

That squabble threw the whole future of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery into uncertainty.

Nonetheless, that challenge is behind the leaders at the gallery, and the first move in a new direction took place in November with the announcement of a $25-million capital campaign to provide an endowment fund from which the gallery can draw interest to fund operations and programs and $15 million for expansion.

Last week, the announcement concerning the partnership with the National Bank brought even more good news.

Everyone can be most satisfied with the largess of the National Bank, which will provide a two-pronged base that includes funding to continue the Beaverbrook’s Drinks with Dali program, which provides an introduction and tour of the gallery, as well as a $50,000 donation to the Beaverbrook’s Capital Campaign.

“It’s a very significant commitment for us because it helps the gallery both in its regular operating and also for the future with the capital campaign,” Ms. Coy said.

“This doesn’t happen with everyone. We have very good support from many of the financial institutions, but this two-level partnership we have here is a very interesting one.”

National Bank president Louis Vachon said the support reflects the bank’s commitment to supporting Canadian artists and recognizing the contribution of art to society.

Joan Beauchamp, the bank’s senior advisor for public affairs, said the partnership also presents a couple of advantages for the bank.

“Its part of our community outreach program, and it’s also part of business development for us,” she said.

We’re as excited about this turn of events for the gallery as anyone. It’s one of the major blessings many hoped for — but didn’t expect — after recent conflicts.

We hope other corporations and organizations will open their wallets as the National Bank has done.

It’s a great day for Fredericton and New Brunswick — a day when we look toward the future with Gainsborough, Dali, Turner and so many others safely ensconced where Lord Beaverbrook wanted them over 50 years ago.

Congratulations to all who worked to achieve this pioneering partnership.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Research project to target city’s homeless young men


17 Apr 2012 08:12AM
What is the best way to help homeless young men in Fredericton between the age of 16 and 18?
University of New Brunswick associate psychology Prof. Scott Ronis thinks the answer can be found by asking homeless residents. He plans to do that with the help of Youth in Transition Inc. and a $70,000 grant from the federal government.
Ronis plans to train four at-risk young men to become researchers and interview about 200 participants to determine their housing needs.
“Basically we’re going to try to get these kids involved with mentors, involved in learning job skills, involved in the research process,” he said Monday.
The project will teach them “about confidentiality, about privacy and all the things we think would be important and then they will be involved in going out and getting the information from the youth.”
It isn’t always easy for researchers to reach the population in question and get the necessary data on trauma, mental health, family relations, substance abuse and barriers to accessing services, said Ronis.
“The better way to do that is to have their peers collect the data,” he said.
Ronis said participatory research on homelessness is unique.
The research will be done this summer and fall and a report will be published in March, he said.
Fredericton Conservative MP and Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Keith Ashfield announced the federal research funding at a news conference in Fredericton on Monday.
“Our government is giving a hand up to Canadians with housing needs and is helping to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty,” he said.
“We are pleased to partner with Youth in Transition Inc.
“Through partnerships like this one, we are helping develop and deliver programs for vulnerable Canadians.”
The funding came from the federal government’s $134.8 million two-year Homelessness Partnering Strategy.
In 2008 Ottawa promised to spend $1.9 billion fighting homelessness over five years.
The funding announcement was made at Chrysalis House in Fredericton, which provides a place to stay for young women who are homeless and is operated by Youth in Transition Inc.
“We are very pleased to receive funding from the government of Canada to be able to do such meaningful research in the area of a needs assessment for homeless and at-risk male youth,” said Youth in Transition Inc. executive director Julie Gallant Daigle.
“Unfortunately, there are currently no safe, stable and/or supportive housing options and limited other services for this group.”
Gallant Daigle said the research will determine the right way to help homeless young men.
“A lot of people have suggested we just build something,” she said.
“The concern that myself and the board of directors and some other community members have is that one size does not fit all.”
“We know that males and females are not the same.”
The research will find out if homeless young men need a house, a shelter or a drop-in centre, she said.
“We’re really excited to see what the end result will be,” said Gallant Daigle.
“It will be led by the youth which I think is extremely exciting, to engage them in the process and eventually come up with, hopefully, some answers.”