Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Heavier Power Bills in 2012

Power rates are going up in Nova Scotia. Residents will see their bills rise by about six per cent. The hike is to offset revenue shortfalls of two of NSP's major clients - NewPage Port Hawkesbury and Bowater Mersey. The mills were looking for a five-year break on the utility's load retention tariff. The province's utility and review board has agreed to three years. Canadian Taxpayers Federation Atlantic Director Kevin Lacey says the writing may be on the wall for Bowater-Mersey. "This could mean trouble for them and you know, ultimately it's important for these companies to survive," Meanwhile, Lacey also slammed NSP  and their "high-paid executives" - he says if they were "unload" some of those positions power rates might be lower instead of higher. "What we're seeing today is just the product of years of mismanagement by Nova Scotia Power and now what they're expecting is regular rate payers to pay the price of their mismanagement," The increased power rates take effect January 1st.

BREAKING NEWS: Education Minister Replacing SSRSB

Education Minister Ramona Jennex
Education Minister Ramona Jennex is restoring stability for students, teachers and staff by replacing the South Shore Regional School board with an appointed board member. The move follows an independent report by Deloitte into the governance practices of the elected board. That report found frequent violations by the board of its own by-laws, persistent cases of conflict of interest, inappropriate use of in-camera meetings and a focus on individual agendas at the expense of the region's overall best interest. Jennex says it is clear from the Deloitte report that the board was unable to fulfill its duties and its conduct placed the quality of education for students at risk. Jennex informed board members in a meeting in Bridgewater Tuesday morning that she was exercising her authority under the Education Act, which allows her to transfer the school board's authority and responsibilities to Judith Sullivan-Corney, a former deputy minister.The Deloitte report is available on line at http://www.ednet.ns.ca/.  More details to come.

BREAKING NEWS : Deloitte Inc. releases its Review of SSRSB

Deloitte Inc. says the South Shore Regional School Board has serious governance issues. The Performance Review was released in Halifax Tuesday morning. Deloitte. Inc revealed the board was in frequent violation of their code of ethics, there was mistrust of management and persistent cases of conflict of interest on the part of some members. Deloitte Inc. made a number of recommendations in their report including addressing breaches of conflict of interest and ethics, removing the Board from its involvement in management issues and eliminating members' interference in schools. Deloitte Inc. further says in their report "We believe that the capabilities required to successfully implement thse recommendations are largely absent from the Board, and success is unlikely to be achieved by the current members, even with substantial outside assistance. More details to come.

Baillie: Talks Power Rates, Families & Forestry

Conservative leader Jamie Baillie says sky high power rates are haunting average families and putting some businesses like Bowater Mersey on the brink of closure. He made the comments on Monday after meeting with business leaders in Hubbards and Liverpool during a quick swing through the South Shore. Baillie stressed the need for political parties to work together on items such as power rates and policy. "I wanted the people of Lunenburg and Queens County to know that I believe there is a long term future for the forestry industry. We all know that the world-wide demand for paper has gone down but there will be paper mills in the long run - our goal is to make sure some of them are here," The future of the pulp and paper mill in Brooklyn hinges on a plan that could include provincial government funding and breaks on energy costs. The Tories have already introduced four legislative bills during the fall session of the legislature aimed at tackling power rates. However, the bills will be lucky to see the light of day given Premier Darrell Dexter's majority government.

Fairview Inn to be Demolished

Photo Courtesy of Dan Hennessey
A sad end to one of the province's oldest Inn's. The Fairview Inn is expected to start being demolished this week, nearly six months after being ravaged by fire. Bridgewater Mayor Carroll Publicover confirmed the news at Monday night's council meeting.
"There has been a demolition permit issued. On the 22nd of November it was issued and there is machinery there now and I guess it's on the verge of being brought down."
The Inn was built in 1916 after another blaze destroyed the site's original hotel. Publicover says it's sad to see the Inn up for demolition, but adds, it's been a dangerous and unsightly property since the fire. The Inn is one of two heritage sites in Bridgewater after town council deregistered the Riverview Community Centre in July. No word yet if another Fairview Inn is expected to be built.