Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Resolute Confirms Downtime at Bowater Mersey

Poor market conditions have forced the parent company of the Bowater Mersey paper mill to schedule two more shutdowns. Resolute Forest Products announced today their paper machines will shutdown from May 6th to 21st and between June 17th to July 2nd. Spokesman Pierre Choquette says the global demand for paper remains weak and is the reason behind the decision. He says the paper market has been struggling for years and it's difficult to predict when it may turn around.

"You know, we've faced, since the past few years sort of a decrease on average of ten percent per year, so we can't predict that this will likely continue although it's hard to say until when and by how much."

It will be the third and fourth time the company has called for downtime since December because of poor market conditions.

More Downtime Expected at Bowater Mersey

Poor market conditions have forced officials at Bowater Mersey to schedule two more temporary shutdowns. The first will take place from May 6th to the 21st while another shutdown is planned between June 17th to July 2nd. It's the fourth time since December the company has called for downtime because global paper markets are saturated. The most recent shutdown was held over a two week stretch in March due to similar market conditions.

NDP Leader Mulcair Coming to South Shore

Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair
The federal leader of the NDP will be on the South Shore this June. Tom Mulcair is the keynote speaker at the Nova Scotia NDP convention at Oak Island in Western Shore. Provincial and federal members are expected to attend the event. Nova Scotia NDP Party President David Walbridge says Mulcair should receive a rousing applause by members.
"I think that they have been, for the most part, quite impressed with his performance since he was elected leader. I think they really see him as a real strong opposition to Stephen Harper as prime minister, and also, as carrying on a lot of the work that Jack Layton did around the environment and the economy."
The conference will allow members to approve a new party constitution, elect a new provincial executive and participate in a pre-election strategy session. The convention will be held June 8-10.

Leashed Dogs Only at Miller Point: Committee Chair

The chair of the Miller Point Peace Park committee is reminding residents the park is not a spot to let your dogs roam off-leash. Carmen Fraser says the committee has created new signage encouraging owners to have their dogs under control while walking in the park. One resident was allegedly bitten by a dog off-leash recently. Fraser says he doesn't want people to be afraid to go to the park.
"We don't want to intimidate and make the users of the park fearful of going to the park, whether they are with their children or adults and with dogs off leash, that is the case."
The new bright yellow sign is expected to be displayed where people won't miss it. If a person is found to have a dog off-leash in the park, they could be charged under the municipality's dog by-law and face up to a $1,000 fine, if convicted.

Lunenburg: Town Projects Hold The Line Budget

The town of Lunenburg is projecting a hold the line budget with no tax increases for residents or commercial tax payers. Council has proposed to cut just over $218-thousand from its operating budget in order to balance the books. The reductions are necessary in order to maintain the tax rate because the town has taken possession of Lunenburg Academy. Mayor Laurence Mawhinney says it took some creative work on behalf on staff to make it work.

"The academy is projected to cost $177,000 during this fiscal year - between now and the end of next March - and that equates to around seven cents on the tax rate. Even with that additional responsibility, the projected budget would still bring us in with tax rates comparable to last year,"

The town seen considerable savings of $42,000 from its snow removal budget which provided a significant boost to their bottom line. Council will hold three public meetings on the budget next month and still need to approve.

Public budget meetings will be held May 1st at 5:15PM, May 8th at Noon and May 15th at 7:00PM

Politics Driving Premier's Ferry Study: Mayor John Leefe

Queens Mayor John Leefe continues 30 years of public service
District of Queens Mayor John Leefe
Determining how to make a ferry service between Yarmouth and Maine work financially is perhaps a good idea, according to the Mayor of the District of Queens.  However, John Leefe agrees with many others who say the setting up of a Blue Ribbon panel ... now the premier smacks of politics.

"There may be an election as early as this fall. So, if this is the case, then it would seem there is a political dimension to this quite apart from the financial dimension that we are all interested in."

Mayor Leefe says Queens County is like most areas in this region.  It has taken a big hit financially since the ferry service ended more than two years ago.  He feels putting political motives for studying the ferry issue ahead of the immediate needs of business and tourism in the area is not a good move!

Lunenburg: Interest Rate Hike on Overdue Tax Bills

A stern message for those who live in Lunenburg and are behind on their tax bill. Town council has approved a motion to increase the annual interest rate on overdue accounts to 24 percent. The rate had been set at 18 percent. Councillor Peter Zwicker says the town is trying to crack down on chronic cases of tardy payment.

"You know, I think there are some taxpayers out there that have the thought that they pay the interest rate and that's OK. Well, we're not a bank, we don't run big profits so if you're not paying your taxes...we have to find that money somewhere else,"

The motion passed by a 4-3 margin. The new interest rate will be applied beginning October 1st.

MODL Acquires Fire Brook Falls in Lower Branch

Councillor Arthur Young describes it as a "jewel in the crown of the municipality's recreational properties." The District of Lunenburg has purchased 38 acres of land known as Fire Brook Falls in Lower Branch. Mayor Don Downe says its a beautiful piece of land.
"It has natural walking trails through it. It is a bit of a hike because it leaves the road and goes up fairly high, it's a good walk, it's a beautiful walk, the falls themselves run about 500 feet long that are absolutely beautiful certainly in the spring and different seasons of the year."
Downe says the municipality purchased the land from the Mailman family for $69,000. He says they have plans to develop a passive, natural park that could be walked and hiked by residents and visitors to the area.