Wednesday, November 16, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Unionized Workers at Bowater Mersey Accept Contract Concessions by Slimmest of Margins

Members of CEP Union Local 141 and 259 at Bowater Mersey have narrowly voted to accept a proposal from Resolute Forest Products - formally Abitibi Bowater - which includes massive job cuts. In total, 51.7 percent of those who cast a ballot, voted in favor of negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with the company. It means 110 employees at the mill are going to lose their job. That includes 80 full time and 30 casual positions. The reduction in the workforce represents almost half of the union's membership and will leave 128 employees left to operate the mill. Union President Courtney Wentzell was clearly dejected as he delivered the news to a handful of his co-workers at the union hall in Brooklyn on Wednesday night. No word on when negotiations between the company and union will commence. Wentzell didn't reveal how many of the union's 228 members voted.

Voting on Company Proposal Underway in Brooklyn

Unionized members at Bowater Mersey are voting on a critical proposal that could wipe out nearly half their membership. Resolute Forest Products - formally Abitibi Bowater - is looking to cut 80 full time and 30 casual positions at the mill in an effort to reduce costs. Union President Courtney Wentzell says the company is looking for concessions in almost every area of their collective agreement. He says even if workers accept the proposal - there's no guarantee it will save the mill. More than 200 members with CEP Local 141 have been dropping by the union hall in Brooklyn to cast their ballot. Voting began early this morning and will take place until 8 PM. The company is threatening to close the mill if they can't find a way to cut costs. CKBW/HANK FM News will have more on this story later tonight.

Park View Boys Host Home Openers

Park View boys open their basketball season Wednesday night on two fronts. The JV team hosts Forest Heights at 5:30 before the Division one squad welcomes their cross town rivals from Bridgewater to play at 7:30. Division one Head Coach Eric Whynot says its a great game to start their season.
"It's that town rivalry that's been around for many years and you always wanna get off, any game you play, you want to play to win and it's more so important because all your friends and your family for both schools are in the gym and you want to start on the right foot."
Both games will be played in the Park View gym and are open to the public. Park View's Division one girls game, originally scheduled for Wednesday night, has been cancelled.

Collyer Moves Into New Role - Police Chief

There's a new Chief of Police serving the Town of Bridgewater. Veteran officer John Collyer was recently promoted from within the local detachment and officially sworn in during a ceremony Monday night in council chambers. Collyer says he's looking forward to his new role and serving residents of Bridgewater. Collyer is originally from Dartmouth and moved to the area in 1990.  He takes over for Brent Crowhurst who has accepted a job with the Criminal Intelligence Service of Nova Scotia.

Mounties Charge South Shore Woman with Fraud

A Lunenburg County woman is facing numerous fraud charges totalling more than $80,000 dollars following a month long investigation. Forty-seven year-old Sandra Skinner is facing five counts of fraud over $5000 and is set to make her first appearance in Bridgewater on January 18th. Police launched the probe following a complaint from the province's Department of Health and Wellness in September. During the investigation, Mounties discovered that Harbour View Haven Nursing Home submitted claims requesting reimbursement for capital projects. In each instance, the work was either not completed, the goods not purchased or the goods not approved. Harbour View Haven is located in Lunenburg and has been serving the community since the 70's.

Crucial Union Meeting in Liverpool Tonight

Unionized workers at Bowater Mersey's Brooklyn paper mill have a lot to consider before voting tonight (Wednesday) on a company proposal to keep the operation going. Members of CEP Local 141 packed a hall on Monday night to hear details of what union officials are calling a ``take it or leave it'' proposal. The mill's owners want to trim 80 full-time and 30 casual positions from the workforce to reduce costs. Union president Courtney Wentzell says the concessions being demanded are too much. He says even if the membership accepts the latest proposal, there's no guarantee the mill will remain open.

SSRSB Tables Motion to Censure Karen Reinhardt

The South Shore Regional School Board has decided to table a motion to remove one of its board members from their position. Karen Reinhardt breached 11 sections of the board's code of ethics but will get a chance to state her case when members hold another meeting next Monday. The board passed a motion to table the censure motion by a 6-4 margin, with Reinhardt and board member Clifford MacLeod not present. School Board Chair Elliott Payzant says he believes board members want to make a decision with Reinhardt available. Reinhardt is overseas but was expected back November 10. She was unable to make the meeting after missing flights in Ghana and Frankfurt. The School Board will hold another meeting at 7pm Monday November 21.

Bridgewater Councillor Praises GAP Draft Plan

David Mitchell
The draft plan for Generations Active Park is getting a lot of praise from a member of Bridgewater town council. David Mitchell says Ekistics Planning and Design has put together a solid plan, that appeases to all residents and stakeholders. He says the plan took him by surprise.
"It surpassed my expectations. You know, I had in my head the way I thought that the dog park should look or splash pad should look and I'm not a designer and I'm sure everyone had their pre-conceived notions of what it would look like. It just blew me out of the water. It is stunning."
Mitchell says the $2.4-million dollar project would be phased-in over the next 10 years if the final plan is approved. The final version is expected to be presented to Bridgewater town council December 12. People can still have their say on the plan by visiting