Monday, April 29, 2013

Province Opens Up Huge Swath Of Land For ATV'ers

ATV enthusiasts will be able to explore some new trails, previously inaccessible in Nova Scotia. Community Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse has announced 13 gates have been opened to allow vehicle access to 1,700 kilometres of land previously owned by Bowater Mersey. Ecologically sensitive areas remain off-limits for vehicles. The province bought more than 220,000 hectares of forest land in southwest Nova Scotia in December. Provincial conservation officers will patrol the area and ATV groups will also work to ensure their members obey the restrictions.

Man Charged In Teen Confinement Will Stand Trial

A provincial court judge has ordered a man accused of sexually assaulting and confining a teenage boy to stand trial. Gregory Lenehan ruled today during a preliminary hearing that David James Leblanc will be tried by a judge and jury. Leblanc is facing seven charges in relation to the alleged incident last fall in a cabin in Upper Chelsea. Police began their investigation last September after a woman reported that a barefoot boy arrived at her home chained at his wrists and ankles. It's believe the boy was held captive a ten day period before he was able to escape. A publication ban was imposed on all evidence presented during the preliminary hearing. Dates for Leblanc's Supreme Court trial will be set on May 9th.

NS Labour Supports Proposed EI Reform Moratorium

The Atlantic premiers are meeting today on the South Shore. Premiers Dexter, Ghiz, Alward and Dunderdale have gathered for the session at White Point resort in Hunts Point. One issue front and centre is a proposed moratorium by New Brunswick's David Alward on changes to EI. Nova Scotia Federation of Labour President Rick Clarke says its not only of concern to seasonal workers here but he says employers are being affected too and they should be concerned.

Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale says her key focus today is on energy issues. Kathy Dunderdale says she wants to ensure the East Coast has access to oil and gas that is shipped across Canada.

SW Nova Tourism Committee To Begin Work

The committee in the western part of the province, set up to find ways to boost tourism and its related business, will hold its first meeting in about a week's time. Yarmouth mayor Pam Mood is the chair.
She says its bringing together a well-rounded group of community, tourism and business leaders.

The mayor says the committee should have its final report prepared by mid 2014. Before then, she's hoping a new ferry service will be up and running which she says would make the results of their work a lot easier.

Bridgewater Mulls Budgetary Changes

The second of four scheduled debates on Bridgewater's 2013-14 budget will be held tonight. Council will discuss items in both the operating and capital budgets. One idea is potentially lowering the special purpose tax for the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre. Currently it's at eight cents per 100 of assessment for residents, to help pay off Bridgewater's $5-million portion of the project in 20 years. Mayor David Walker says there could be an opportunity to lower it.

Another item that was discussed was chip-sealing Dominion Street. Walker says the draft budget includes $100,000 to chip seal the street. However, he feels council should agree to pave it right away.

Walker feels the town did a lot of work on the sewer and water project, created an inconvenience on the street and should pave the road over roughly the next two fiscal years. Council is expected to discuss the matters during its meeting tonight at 6pm at town hall.