Thursday, July 30, 2009

Housing Development not Developing

I was happy to read recently that Councilor McGuire is going to look into the (apparently abandoned) townhouse project on the corner of Prince St. and Lancaster Ave., formerly the site of the DVA (Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs) Hospital. Evidently he has received calls from residents about what has unfortunately turned into an eyesore. I pass by the site frequently and the once promising development has obviously run into serious problems. I can recall the anticipation when then-Mayor McFarlane made the announcement on the development, way back in 2006, I think, maybe it was 2005. It’s a shame it didn’t pan out, the location is really good.

A sign on the Prince Street side says “Rockingstone Estates – Development Opportunity – For Sale / Mawhinney Real Estate”. I checked the Rockingstone Estates website and it looks like nothing has been added since the project was a few months’ old, and the Mawhinney site appears to be selling some of the properties.

Minutes from the Planning Advisory Committee March 22, 2005 meeting record the presentation from Fulton Surveys Ltd on behalf of Norm Ganong to develop the site. In a TJ article three years later - March 11, 2008 the developer, Norm Ganong, said the amount of paperwork was much more than he anticipated and he had to halt work in the fall of 2006 because he hadn't completed a developer's agreement with the city. Apparently the plan was to build 74 units on the site, to sell for between $225,000 and $250,000, and he hoped to resume building in April 2008. Seems to me that’s way too many for the site, however, I would like to see some housing on the site; we certainly need it in the city.

Just across Prince Street is a nice redevelopment of the former Red Cross Lodge. I am not sure if it houses condos or apartments, but they are on the pricey side. The owner has done a great job.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Feel-good Shopping - sounds like a plan!

Hospice of Greater Saint John is embarking on a unique (to this region) fund-raising venture to assist with the cost of running the Hospice Residence.

The Hospice Shoppe is being touted as "An Upscale Resale Experience - an upscale boutique where savvy shoppers will find one-of-a-kind clothing and d├ęcor items at the best prices in town." The shop will sell quality, used and new clothing and other items, that have been donated. The location has undergone extensive renovations and is operating with a large volunteer bank, and one Hospice staff member.

Apparently there are successful models of this type of fund-raising venture in Canada and the USA. A great idea, I hope it is a big success for the agency.

Opening day is July 21. The shop is located at 77 Catherwood Street (corner of Ready Street and Catherwood), in the Gamezilla building, formerly the location of Value Frenchy's.

More information on hours and how and what kind of of item to donate can be found on the Hospice website.

Build It & They Will Park

I know this isn't a Westside issue, but ....

Rainbow Row in Charleston, South Carolina (saw the picture in last Saturday's TJ, Escapade section) and the proposed Carleton Street parking facility seem strikingly similar.

I think the proposed garage is kind of cool. It's a garage for crying out loud, does have to be dull and boring?

Just saying.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

MacLaren's Beach Stuff

Kind of gives new meaning to "dining alfresco".

New Transit Routes & Schedules

As I mentioned in an earlier post, (and since then confirmed in SJT GM Frank McCarey’s presentation to City Council) Saint John Transit is introducing new routes, they'll come into effect Sunday August 9.

According to the SJT website:
The names and numbers of many routes have changed. This will allow all routes to be grouped according to where they are located in the city. All schedules will be colour-coded, making them easy to identify. The new numbering system will also allow for the easy addition of new routes in the future.

Highlights include:
  • Direct service to the SJ Regional Hospital and UNBSJ from McAllister Place and Lancaster Mall, and direct service from Lancaster Mall to McAllister Place.
  • Additional service has been added in the morning and the evenings.
  • Three new Park ‘N Ride routes will be added within Saint John. These routes will service Latimore Lake, Golden Grove and Lorneville.
If you have not had a chance to check them out – do so. It’s quite a change, and I think once riders get used to the new schedules and routes (might take a bit of time) they’ll be pleased.

Route maps and schedules are available here.

Here's a picture of the SJ Transit site taken last week - didn't take long to clean up. Another building will be going up shortly, Quizno's is meant to open there.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Must try - Light Lime

I haven't had
the opportunity to try Moosehead's new product - Moosehead Light Lime - but I see someone at MacLaren's Beach had a few. Maybe they enjoyed it so much they left the empties behind on the way to NBLC to purchase more.

This afternoon on CBC Radio's Shift sommelier Craig Pinhey broke with tradition; instead of reviewing a wine he gave his thoughts on Moosehead Light Lime. It met with his approval as he gave it pretty good marks.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

More Fairville Blvd. Plaza

Demolition of SJ Transit's Lorne Lawless Centre began yesterday. In the picture above you can see the new Staples store through the rubble of the bus garage.

And in this image, below, you can see a portion of another phase of the new Plaza on the right, behind the heavy equipment.

Bay Shore Beach

Access to the beach at Bay Shore will be a little easier once the repairs to the stairs are complete. Today there was a crew from the City working on the remains of the existing stairs; I suppose erosion, the elements, and unfortunately vandalism have taken their toll.

Do chickens mind the fog?

I was interested to learn about the experimental urban chicken “farm” recently approved by the city of Moncton (if you call keeping four hens in a pen a farm.)

Good for Moncton. Post Carbon Greater Moncton is trying to bring awareness to our dependence on fossil fuels and increase food self-sufficiency. The pilot project will run for year and will include an educational component.

The Globe and Mail recently ran a story: City residents illegally keep chickens about would be urban farmers in many Canadian cities having trouble convincing their municipalities and neighbours of the benefits of urban chicken farms. Halifax residents were among those interested in a similar project but were unsuccessful in their bid to keep city-chickens. What can I say except, keep on cluckin'.