Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Duke Street Traffic Changes

Recommendations by city staff to council to change traffic patterns on Duke St were made at this week's council session. As reported by CHSJ news the change will improve driver  / pedestrian safety.  City Line  and Lancaster Street are very steep hills, and drivers do have a problem seeing oncoming traffic when turning onto Duke Street.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Shelves are Getting Bare at the Coop

The sign is gone and the remaining goods are 40% off today a the Co-op on Fairville  Blvd.  The parking lot was as full as I've seen it in a long time.
The clothing consignment store which was attached to the Coop moved to Grand Bay early in the month.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

SJ Transit Fares Going Up

SJ Transit has announced fare increases for 2011.  It's going to hurt.

It's sort of like paying the bridge toll without taking the bridge.

I like public transit. Getting pricey though.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ward 3 elects Mel Norton

Ward three, now is your time to really tell Mel what's on your mind. Very poor voter turn out, no surprise with today's storm, still earned a win for Mel Norton. Unofficial results  have Mel Norton winning with 516 votes to second place Mark Leger's 392.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December 13 - Ward 3 Byelection

Lower Westsiders can vote at the Carleton Community Centre from 10-8.  Don't let a little rain prevent you from exercising your franchise!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fairville Blvd. real estate

As expected, the Westside Coop management announced last night that it's closing the Fairville Blvd. store at the end of the month.  (CBC story)  I imagine the land will go for a good price, as development in the area has been picking up significantly in the last couple of years.

Another page added to the history book.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I am missing important community events

A general meeting of the Coop West membership has been announced for Wed. Dec 8th. I am a member, however, I cannot attend.  My gut (and previous news reports) is telling me it won't be good news for the longstanding mainstay of the Golden Mile.  Declining sales and competition from new and improved stores may have been too much for the Coop.

I am going to miss PlanSJ's open house tomorrow, I can't be there for the session.   And I was not able to attend the ward meetings held last week.

So much for community involvement on my part.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Voting Begins Dec. 2 for the Aviva Semi-finalists

The Porter Memorial Playground Fund has made the list of Semi-Finalists in the Aviva Community Fund Competition.  This playground is to be built at Seawood School, Sand Cove Road.

Log in to vote for this community effort.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lancaster Christmas Parade this Weekend

I saw a Christmas tree being installed at Wolastoq Park this morning (the site of the former Provincial Hospital / Centracare). The Lancaster Christmas Parade is happening this Saturday. Let's hope for slightly milder temps for an enjoyable time for all.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Upcoming community meetings for City wards.

I was happy to see the City is hosting a series of "community conversations" called Saint John-Let's Talk.  I attended a couple of the sessions the City offered two years ago. I found them to worthwhile; a good opportunity to meet with councillors, PlanSJ and City officials.  The problem with the sessions this time around is that they all are offered in the same time slot for each ward.  December 1st at 6:30 pm.  That's unfortunate.  You just can't be in two places at once.

Ward 1 - St. Mark’s United Church, 50 Dexter Drive; Ward 3 - (includes the lower Westside)  - St. Andrew and St. David Church, 164 Germain Street.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ask me the questions, bridgekeeper. I am not afraid.

The drive west on the harbour bridge yesterday afternoon was the easiest in months. Very nice to see the both east lanes open again.

Today's T-J has an article about the bridge and the financial assistance long anticipated from the feds. Again, talk about scrapping the tolls .... might they be replaced with  ....  
"Stop. Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

the 411 on Google 411

In conversations about about free or low-cost alternatives to 411, some friends have made referrals to Google 411.

According to their website  the service was shut down yesterday, November 12th.

There is a list of alternate services at

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Haunted Graveyards

Spotted this specter on the weekend.  He had a few friends hanging around too.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Open for Business

Grand opening is Nov. 4th at Mark's and Canadian Tire. I dropped in on Saturday, it's a fine improvement over the cramped former store. And the Mark's store is a positive addition to the west side retail establishment. Still some work to do to the exterior, and the gas bar is just a shell, but it's looking good.

Kids today!

A robot was on the loose yesterday around the T4G building.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Canadian Tire - Not ready yet

Still lots of work to do on the outside - the parking lot doesn't appear to be ready, and work still happening on lighting and exterior of store. I see a "Mark's" sign, that'll make some folks happy.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Old Canadian Tire / New CanadianTire

The Canadian Tire on Fairville Blvd. was demolished today. On the left of this picture is the new store, opening this week.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Summer of our Road Discontent

It's been a long summer and fall with road work happening around the west side. I took a drive along the Westfield Road on the weekend. The long-needed and hard fought campaign to upgrade the road and install sidewalks continued this summer.   Pretty rough going as the photo illustrates.

So, with the Westfield Road, Dever Road, Church Street, Main Street, Lancaster Avenue and the Harbour Bridge,  to name a few - all on the receiving end of taxpayers' hard work, it's a wonder any westsiders bothered to attempt the frustration of a trip over the bridge into town. 
(But I still want nice roads)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Canadian Tire Fairville Blvd. & Dave's No Frills

Work is really moving along quickly on the new Canadian Tire on Fairville Blvd. On the weekend a staff person told me the grand opening is scheduled for October 28. The new store will include a Mark's Work Wearhouse; I had heard that rumor but it had not had it confirmed.
A new gas bar is part of the reconstruction, here is a picture of what remains of the old gas bar.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It happens every year

I saw a poster recently announcing the 6th annual Lancaster Santa Parade, November 27, 1pm. Looks like some elves have been busy preparing for this great show of local community pride.
I guess I had better make my list...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Stonehammer - First Global Geopark in North America- that's solid!

I received a news release from Stonehammer / NB Museum today announcing that the bid by the local Stonhammer Geopark committee has been accepted. Well done all!  Good news for southern NB tourism.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Market Place Concept Plan - Public Meeting tomorrow

I just noticed this poster announcing a meeting for the unveiling of the Market Place Concept Plan. I attended the public meeting in the summer where residents offered suggestions on what they'd like to see at the Centre.  Sure hope I can make tomorrow's meeting.  The centre offers great programs and services, and I am curious to see how the Glenn Group has interpreted the community's ideas.

From the city's website:
September 30, 2010

The City of Saint John and the Carleton Community Centre invite you to attend a public meeting that will unveil the Market Place Concept Plan. Residents in the Market Place/Carleton Community Centre area met with consultants to create a master plan for the green space in the area. City staff and the Glenn Group will present the master concept plan, followed by a question and answer period for public feedback.  7 – 9pm

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Harbour Bridge tolls rising?

Repairs on the Harbour Bridge are scheduled to come to an end (for 2010, anyway) in about a month's time.  According to an article in Saturday's TJ, HBA GM Ken Anthony says the tolls will go up by 25 cents unless:
the federal and provincial governments thrash out a deal that will lead to the removal of bridge tolls altogether, Anthony  said a planned hike to help pay for all that construction will take effect on Jan. 1, 2011. Base tolls will rise from 50 cents to 75 cents, while B-Pass holders will pay 50 cents.
And we can look forward to six more months of traffic delays starting in Spring 2011.
Bring back the ferry; you can "walk-on" and leave the car at home.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Liquor Store - old news?

I have noticed, in the past few weeks a fenced off area in the Sobey's parking lot and construction equipment there. I guess it wasn't the Sobey's parking lot to begin with; I've been hearing that the space is the site for the new west side NBLiquor store.

I am trying to remember if I heard this rumor last year. So many announcements - so many plans changed, e.g. the motel on the corner of Catherwood St.  and Fairville Blvd. - was it  Super 6 / Motel 6?; a Kent Store on the corner across the street; a theatre - no that's wishful thinking.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Construction on New Canadian Tire

... is coming along. Here's a shot from the parking lot of Sobey's.

Dave's No Frills Open for Business

Dave's No Frills in the Lancaster Mall had a soft-opening today. They've been closed for a couple of days to prepare for the transition to complete No Frills (oxymoron going on right there??)

The big day - official opening - is Saturday, I'll check it out.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sewell House in the News

A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog entry on the Sewell House located in the lower West Side. Today’s TJ has an article about the work being done on the property, and some folks are not happy. They feel an important historical landmark has been spoiled.

I have to admit that during my many years as a Westsider I have never seen any obvious attempt to publicly mark this as a heritage property, or promote the historic value of the building. I have seen a brochure (West Side Walk & Drive written by David Goss and sponsored by the Heritage Preservation Review Board) that mentions the house, but I can’t think of another example where it’s been highlighted. The condition of the house, on the outside at least, has deteriorated over the years. I didn’t even know the province owned the building; I read it’s being used as non-profit housing.

Today's article acknowledges the passion some citizens and groups take in heritage conservation and advocacy in Saint John, at the same time I have to wonder about the footprint the builders or architect of this home considered when it was being built all those years ago.

I enjoy our local history, and I appreciate the importance of heritage buildings, but in the big picture it's a delicate balance to marry the practicality and fiscal responsibility attached to preserving the many unsafe, cast-offs that have an historical significance with the passion demonstrated by those who advocate for heritage initiatives.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Another Sunday ...Parasailing at Bay Shore

On Sunday I dropped by Bay Shore (again).
I was curious to see the aftermath of Hurricane Earl. The tide was low and para-sailors were making the best of what looked like perfect conditions.

New stuff at the INP

I haven't been to the Irving Nature Park in a while.  I snapped this picture of the barricades at the cliff in the upper parking lot.  I guess the erosion got to be too much in the last few years, and the new fencing is in place to keep folks a fair distance from the edge.

As well, a  Stonehammer Geopark Project sign has been placed at the entrance to the park. If this project get the green light it would be a fantastic boost for Saint John and area tourism business.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hurricane Danielle's effects

This morning seemed to offer ideal conditions for doing what these three were doing at Bay Shore (standing on a board with a paddle), what's this activity called?

The tide was at the low point and although the surf wasn't what the folks at Lawrencetown Beach outside Halifax were enjoying, it looked like a fun time.  It's not so often that Bay Shore offers a warm breeze, and slightly warmer than usual water temperature. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Saint John's oldest wooden building

I noticed today that work has been happening on the Sewell House, on the corner of Duke and Ludlow.   It looks like some restoration is taking place.

I recall hearing may years ago that this house is the oldest wooden structure in Saint John.  Apparently it was built by Jonathan Sewell Jr., who was at one time the Attorney General of Massachusetts; he came to Saint John 1786. 

I have seen this house over the years fall into disrepair, and recently it was rocking vinyl siding - not a good thing for a building of historical significance.  So, if indeed it's being restored, it will be good news.
(Sept. 11, a lower west side friend tells me the siding was the original wood, I guess the condition of it looked like vinyl)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lancaster Avenue Townhouses / Condos

This morning's rain didn't seem to bother the crew at the townhouses on Lancaster Ave.
The project has been in the news again, for the eyesore and danger it became while left unfinished  The developer has said he plans to complete the units within a few months and hope to sell each for $250,000.
Councillor McGuire has been vocal about the project - as have the neighbours. It's been about four years since the shovel went in the ground.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bay Shore Parasurfing

Although it was generally a fine day today - the fog did roll in around Bay Shore for a few hours while the tide was out this afternoon.  These para-surfers didn't seem to mind.   Other than the fog, I'd say conditions were perfect with lots of southerly breeze.

I'll admit I got pretty nervous watching them disappear into the fog and not reappear for several seconds.  They were really moving fast - looks like lots of fun.

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's NB Day

It was a great weekend to get out and enjoy the weather and all things New Brunswick, and Westside things, of course.

There was some serious overtime happening at the Superstore today.  The Superstore sign has been removed and painters were giving the outside of the store a fresh coat of paint.  There were several workers visible installing equipment and doing "stuff" - preparing for the transformation to the  "No Frills" store .  Late last week the photo centre was gone, and by now the deli may be out. The bakery was removed early last week. Looks like the change over is happening fast.
I must say I do like the bike racks that have been recently placed around the Lancaster Mall - a nice example of form meeting function.
I dropped by the NB Day activities at Wolastoq Park this afternoon. A good crowd was gathered, and there was lots of food and music everyone.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

NB Day Events

I noticed that there will be several events happening on NB Day, Monday Aug. 2.
The West Side PACT and RBC Westwind Place are sponsoring a free BBQ and Flea Market from 11am-2pm. The Flea Market will be located in Queen Square on the West Side. 

Also - a free BBQ and family games will be held 1-5pm, with live music,  at Wolastoq Park, Simms Corner.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Non-Census, you say?

The current debate around the federal government’s plan to scrap the long form census and replace it with a new voluntary questionnaire known as the National Household Survey is raising the ire of folks who depend on census information to develop policies and programs, funding allocations, and use the data as a learning tool.

Municipal services, social services, and researchers rely on census data. When a case for funding needs to be made, the proof is in the data. Without access to demographic information, there’ll never be an argument for needed funds by community service agencies.

With this in mind, I am posting a link to an online petition. I am not usually in favour of online petitions, but this time it’s worth the effort.

 Keep the Canadian Census Long Form

 Cartoon from "Punch", nineteenth century.

Monday, July 26, 2010


I'm not sure what was the purpose of the exercise these tug boats were undertaking today ... if you look closely you can see a cable between the two boats,  they seemed to trying to pull each other across an imaginary line.

They were in the harbour for the better part of the morning and early afternoon.  Oh well.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Buskers Uptown

I had an opportunity to see some of the buskers in town this afternoon. I couldn't resist posting this image of a very stout chef.  The boardwalk at Market Square was a beehive of activity -  nice to see so many folks out enjoying activities.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another new government website

Yesterday fellow blogger Urban Plans for Saint John and Beyond posted about the new City of SJ website.

I had an opportunity to browse the new site today and it’s looking good.   I knew the site was coming and was anticipating its launch. However, I was surprised today to discover the new site for the Province on NB.  It’s a nice change from the utilitarian yet serviceable former site.

I can appreciate it’s a big job to coordinate government websites, and I think the developers are on the right track.

Now when will the SJ Police Force launch a website? I think it's long overdue.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Deconstruction of Superstore

Changes are more evident every day at the Lancaster Mall Superstore; soon to be No Frills.

For the past several weeks the staff has been emptying the shelves of "frilly" items, products that are more than basics.  These items have been reduced by 50% and make for some great bargains.  Today I noticed the bakery was covered in a huge tarp. There are still bakery items available, but there isn't a place to get a birthday cake personalized.  I am not 100% sure I'll be happy with the new store, but I'll give it a chance.

There has been a bit of media attention lately about the struggles the COOP  on Fairville Blvd. has been having for the past while.  Maybe SJ Transit should consider pulling in to make a stop a the COOP before heading over to the Sobeys Plaza across the street. Might make a difference to some folks.

There is no doubt, however, the arrival of Cosco has changed the landscape of grocery shopping.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Asian Kitchen Rocks

Had another amazing meal at the Asian Kitchen (391 Lancaster Ave., in the strip mall across from T4G) this weekend.

I must reiterate, go there if you want a variety of the best Asian food in Saint John. You will be very happy.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Yup - it's Saint John in July

Definitely a weekend for ducks.  The unseasonable, yet welcomed weather that we were just getting used to last week disappeared on Friday.  And the weekend  was not outdoor activity friendly. That didn't stop this little one and his dad(?) from enjoying McLaren's Beach this afternoon.  It was a good day for duck-watching.

Well Done! Felicitaciones

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fast, Faster, Fastest

I attended Dave Goss's excellent Walk'n'Talk tonight. "Fast, Faster, Fastest" took place in CedarHill Cemetery on Lancaster Avenue.  Among the highlights, the newly unveiled monument marking the grave of Charles Gorman, the graves of the Paris Crew  (I didn't realize they were West Siders), the guy (can't remember his name) who, around 1850,  was responsible for having water piped in from Spruce Lake, and other remarkable people who were involved in amazing ways with Lancaster's  / Saint John's development.

Dave Goss, along with Harold Wright who was in attendance tonight, are great resources in helping the community keep in touch with our history.

Last summer I took this photo of William Boggs' grave stone.  I thought it was interesting because he was 104 when he died in 1838; he was born in 1734!  David Goss mentioned Boggs tonight because Boggs was the oldest Loyalist buried in the cemetery, and he died on Loyalist Day.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day

At Saint's Rest Beach tonight I caught couple of interesting sights.  Earlier there was a great rainbow over the bay. Later on, as dusk was approaching I had a Harry Potter moment.  A young family flying some very cool kites.  I tried to get a decent shot but the light was fading, The exposure on the dragon isn't great, but try to imagine the image this crated, the kite was huge.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Charles Gorman Dedication

A couple of interesting events in honour of Charles Gorman are upcoming.
On July 6 there will be a dedication to the champion speed skater from 12:15 PM - 12:45 PM at the Old Cedar Hill Cemetery, on Lancaster Avenue.  According the city’s calendar of events:

Charles I. Gorman, of Saint John, was the world speedskating champion in the 1920s. He was also an outstanding baseball, bowing, boxing, and tack athlete. A memorial headstone will be dedicated at his grave site in the Old Cedar Hill Cemetery, near Havelock School.

A luncheon reception will follow immediately in the adjoining Hillcrest Baptist Church. Everyone is invited to attend.
And in the evening,  one of Dave Goss’s great Walk ‘n’ Talks will feature a visit to the cemetery to explore the site.
7:15 PM - 8:45 PM. Martello Tower to Cedar Hill Cemetery.

Fast, Faster and Fastest. Walk from Martello Tower to Cedar Hill Cemetery where special attention to the new marker to Charles Gorman will be the highlight of the walk, though others buried there will be noted too! Free. Sponsored by Friends of Charles Gorman Committee. Rain date next night.
Contact: (506) 672-8601.

I like this image below (from the Can. Sports Hall of Fame) of a huge crowd gathered on King Street by the site of our current city hall waiting to greet Gorman in 1920.  You can see the smoke stack of the old electric power company in the background.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Market Place Community Session

SJ Leisure Services is hosting a community session tonight at the Carleton Community Centre - “Lower West Side, what do you want for Market Place?”, from 7-9 pm.  Participants will be asked for input on a plan for the Market Place area, an “untapped” recreational space -  as the City says in the ad.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

This is getting ridiculous

More wild and crazy nature facts from the Irving Nature Park.

PlanSJ June 12 Workshop

I wasn't able to attend the Directions and Opportunities Workshop on Saturday presented by the folks from PlanSJ.  Luckily they have emailed links to seven questionnaires, covering the same questions discussed on Saturday. 

The responses are requested by June 30,  "so that all your feedback can be incorporated into the next Engagement Report, and will be used to directly shape the next stage: generating growth options."

The surveys are:
  1. Inclusiveness
  2. Arts Culture and Heritage
  3. Smart Growth
  4. Mobility
  5. Employment
  6. Environmental Sustainability
  7. Urban Design
I thinks it's worthwhile to make the effort to add a voice to this initiative.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Stand by for action!

Today is World Oceans Day.  The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico continues.  Reminds me of how lucky we are to live near the Bay of Fundy; no major disasters - so far.

As for the Gulf Coast - maybe the team from the World Aquanaut Security Patrol (WASP) could help? Captain Troy Tempest, "Phones" Sheridan, and of course Lieutenant Atlanta Shore (voiced by Canadian Lois Maxwell - Miss Moneypenny for 25 years) always seemed to solve the most dire situations.
Don't know these cats? Check out  Stingray on YouTube.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

This is harsh

More weird and wild info from the Irving Nature Park;   spotted this a few days ago.

Monday, May 31, 2010

365 Already

I just realized that I started this blog a year ago today .... happy whatever!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Jesus, Mary and Rudolph

Last Monday I visited the Milford area, and snapped these pics of Thunderhill, the property previously owned by the much loved, late Lou Murphy. I used to visit this area as a kid, especially at Christmas when the “lawn ornaments” were adorned by lights.  It was quite remarkable.  After the death of Mr. Murphy, the property was abandoned and became a hazard; it was recently demolished.

By coincidence, Tuesday’s TJ ran a story that the property is the subject of interest from local residents who feel it is suitable for seniors’ housing. Early stage ideas for affordable, non-profit housing have been circulating, with councillor McGuire indicating he likes the idea.  If neighbours are serious about this idea, they have a long road ahead. I’m thinking about Abby St. Andrews, Tannery Court, as well as other non-profit housing groups where securing financing, and keeping the neighbors happy has been a concern.

In any case. it won't be the same without the kitsch.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Give 'em a break!

I guess there's a reason for posting signs like these, but they seem very anti-social.  I was shaking my head again this weekend after a visit to Unity Park in Grand Bay Westfield where this sign is posted. Unity Park, by the way, is a really nice little park on the Nerepis Road, it has a great stage and hosts talent shows, concerts, and other community events.

The sign below is posted in a green space near Cushing Street in Fundy Heights. I am sure there is a history behind the sign, but it's kind of harsh ... and it's near  school too.

This weekend I was reading on CBC online (Outdoor options urged for children)  about the need to get kids outside to better appreciate nature and the environment.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Duke Street Parking

The City has announced on its website a public meeting regarding parking on Duke St., and changes to traffic flow on Lancaster St.  I'm not sure about the Duke St parking issue, but the hills in the lower west are significant.  And Lancaster St. definitely poses concerns during winter weather.

Public Meeting - Duke Street West parking and traffic 05/17/10

A meeting will be held at the request of Common Council to consult with the public regarding proposed changes to the parking on Duke Street West between Champlain Street and City Line, as well as proposed changes to the flow of traffic on Lancaster Street between Duke Street West and Guildford Street.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 7 p.m.

Carleton Community Centre

82 Market Place, Saint John

When is a shortcut not a shortcut?

The shortcut through Riverview Drive has been a godsend on many occasions. Alas, each spring it is blocked to cars. Friday was the day. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What the What!?

Things you learn at the Irving Nature Park.

Fundamental Baptist Church - progress

The Fundamental Baptist Church has come a long way in the last few months.  Great weather for construction hasn't hurt.  The roof is taking shape.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Provincial Hospital Cemetery

The Provinicial Hospital, or Lunatic Asylum as it was known way back,  maintains a cemetery on Sand Cove Road.  I have heard it was used for indigents and patients without families, but I don't know this for certain.
It is very well kept; there are three sections of wooden markers. The names have mostly vanished with time and weather, but a few are slightly legible. It's a striking scene that most people in Saint John aren't aware of.

Man, it's not that bad

From the files.  This image is from last fall, taken along the tracks behind the Bowlarama.  Someone was having a bad day.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Slushies are Back

I have great affection for the Westside Variety on Main Street.  The store carries a good choice of films, including many foreign films, and I am always intrigued by the array of middle eastern foods and spices offered.  And the staff are always willing to offer lively debate on any issues.