Thursday, December 19, 2013

Whalen: NS Facing $481 M Deficit - No HST Cut

Nova Scotia is facing a $481 million deficit for the upcoming fiscal year end. Finance Minister Diana Whalen confirmed the shortfall during a fiscal update - the first since the Liberals took office back in October. The largest contributor to the deficit is a drop in income tax revenues of $71 million and a one-time pension adjustment of $300 million to account for the unfunded liability in the public service pension. Whalen says the government is also calling on all departments to reduce spending by 1 percent - excluding health and education. Meanwhile, Whalen says Nova Scotians will not be getting their cut to the HST this spring. She says the province simply can't afford it now. She estimates the annual revenue for the province will be $9.3 billion. That's $158 million less than the target in the budget.

Park View, Bridgewater Face Off In Alumni Game

Old rivals are preparing to square off before Christmas. An alumni hockey game has been set up between former players with the Park View Panthers and the Bridgewater Vikings. One of the organizers, Michael Hubley, says proceeds will go to the Bridgewater Interchurch Food Bank.

Admission will be three dollars. The game will be held Monday night (December 23) at 6pm at the Bridgewater Memorial Arena.

Ups And Downs For South Shore Housing Market

Some ups and downs in the housing market on the South Shore. The Nova Scotia Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service shows housing sales are down nearly 10 per cent between September and November this year, compared to 2012. Meanwhile, listings have increased over the three month period by about seven per cent. President Gary Mailman says there could be some reasons to explain why sales have dropped.

Mailman says final figures for 2013 will be released in January. He's optimistic there will be more activity in the real estate market in 2014.

Liverpool: Federal Dollars For Astor Theatre

The Astor Theatre in Liverpool is getting some financial help from Ottawa to modernize their experience for movie goers. MP Gerald Keddy announced $50,000 to help the theatre install a digital projection unit. The money will help the Astor reach its fundraising goal of $100,000. Upgrades to the sound system and lighting will also be made. The Astor is the oldest operating theatre in Canada.

Fears For Seniors/Disabled If Door To Door Mail Delivery Ends

There are fears for the safety of seniors and the disabled on the South Shore and elsewhere if Canada Post eliminates home delivery of mail. The President of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, Kentville Mayor David Corkum, says bad weather makes it especially difficult to get mail at a community mailbox.

The UNSM is suggesting Ottawa fund a special program that would enable the physically-challenged to hire someone to pick up their mail. It intends to pressure the federal government to ensure timely mail delivery for seniors and the physically-challenged.

Bridgewater Fire Chief: Check Your Space Heaters

The Red Cross has come to the aid of two people forced from their apartment home in Bridgewater yesterday morning by a fire. Emergency housing and food have been provided for the woman and child affected by the blaze in an apartment behind KO's Restaurant. Bridgewater Fire Chief Michael Nauss says an electric heater caused a small section of a wall to catch fire. The chief says the incident serves as a good reminder for people to keep an eye on their heating sources.

The woman and her daughter were not hurt.

Gas Prices Expected To Fall Tonight

Just in time for Christmas! South Shore gasoline prices will likely take a tumble when the coming week's prices are set tonight by the provincial utility and review board. In New Brunswick this morning, the price of self serve regular is down by more than 4 cents a litre. Diesel is also costing less by almost 3 cents a litre.