Thursday, April 26, 2012

Shelburne: Fish Farm Ordered to Destroy Salmon

A Shelburne Harbour fish farm has been ordered to kill all of its salmon because a virus previously found there has spread. Fisheries Minister Sterling Belliveau says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency gave the order to Cooke Aquaculture's fish farm in Shelburne. In February, the federal agency ordered the company to kill fish in two pens and quarantine its site after an outbreak of infectious salmon anemia was detected during routine testing. Belliveau says the latest order will result in the deaths of thousands of fish in up to 24 pens. However, Belliveau doesn't believe the virus has spread beyond the site, adding that it hasn't shaken his confidence in the farmed salmon industry.

Chester: Old Stone Bridge is Heritage Property

The Old Stone Bridge in Chester has been designated as a provincial heritage property site. The little bridge has a rich history and is located within the village. Councillor Brad Armstrong says the bridge holds a lot of memories for many people who grew up in the seaside village.

"We always hung out there in early June to watch the gaspereau go up the brook - which they still do. So we would meet there with the boys and watch the fish go up and we would catch 'em for lobster bait mainly. I remember selling them, I think I got a penny a piece for the gaspereau,"

The Old Stone Bridge was officially recognized as a heritage site earlier this month.

VIDEO: School Board Approves 2012-13 Balanced Budget

The South Shore Regional School board has balanced its budget for 2012-13. Board member Judith Sullivan-Corney approved the $72.6-million budget during Wednesday night's meeting. The board will have a revenue reduction of $1.4-million, but will also absorb cost of living increases estimated at $1-million. Sullivan-Corney says balancing the budget was difficult after funding cuts for the second straight year.
"The senior staff have worked very closely with each and every school, and so, we looked at each school and their particular needs and then recommendations were made to the board. So, I think we have been able to really make some good decisions around the budget reductions that we have had to take."
The board balanced their budget a number of ways including:

  • Reduced 20 FTE school based teaching positions 
  • Reduced governance costs 
  • Reduced stipends
  • Reduced travel expenditure
  • Reduced telecommunications expenditure
  • Reduced staff professional development funds 
  • Reduced building maintenance expenditure 
  • Reduced Alternate and Adult Education program expenditure 
  • Revenue generated by the NS International Student Program 
  • Cost savings from changes to two defined benefit pension plans 
  • Cost savings from school closures 
  • Cost savings from transportation route reviews - bus route changes 
  • Cost savings from electricity efficiency projects 
  • Cost savings from staffing cuts made in 2011-12 budget - August 2011 to July 2012 savings.

The board is already preparing for further reductions to its budget in 2013-14.

MODL to Meet with Education Minister Over School Takeover

The Municipality of Lunenburg is getting their day with the Education Minister. Mayor Don Downe confirms a meeting has been scheduled with Ramona Jennex over the Centre Consolidated takeover. Downe sent a letter to the province in March, trying to find a better solution than the municipality taking over the closed school. He says they have already inherited the Blockhouse School and Riverport Community School and can't afford to take over the facility. Downe says the province needs to step up.
"There's an obligation they have in regards to saying they have used our facility, they've had them for 20 years and done nothing more than give them back in a worse condition than we received, plus they never dealt with some of these other issues we've dealt with all along, so its a huge liability."
Downe says he plans to tell the minister the downloading of schools is causing huge financial pressure on council and its residents. The meeting will be held May 22.