Five people charged in connection with a brutal assault on a homeless man in North Sydney are all due back in court, today. Charges against the five adults include aggravated assault and attempted murder. Meanwhile, a16-year-old Northside girl pleaded guilty to charges against her in the case, yesterday. The teen, who can’t be named because of her age, will now be sentenced on counts of aggravated assault and breaching a court order on November 26th. Two other charges were withdrawn. The girl continues to be on remand after earlier being denied bail. 48-year-old Shawn Kurtis Jack suffered extensive head injuries after he was beaten with a wrench on July 14th and continues his recovery.
The plaintiffs in a failed class-action lawsuit over contamination from the former Sydney steel plant and tar ponds have been ordered to pay court costs of more than 700-thousand dollars. However, lawyer Ray Wagner who represented the four Sydney residents named in the suit says his firm will absorb the cost. Wagner says the decision over court costs will have a chilling effect on any future class actions in the province. He adds it also puts up barriers to people of modest means trying to seek justice. Justice David P.S. Farrar turned down a request that there be no order for costs or a nominal award for costs. The ruling means that Nova Scotia’s attorney general gets $300,000 in court costs while the attorney general of Canada gets $400,000.
Cape Breton Regional Police will get a 13 per cent pay raise over the next five years in their new collective agreement. CBRM Human Resources Director Angus Flemming announced details of the agreement at last night’s council meeting. The wage increases break down to three per cent in the first year, and 2.5 per cent in each of the next four years. The contract will expire on Dec. 31, 2018. Fleming says a five-year agreement with the police union will allow the municipality to plan for the future in relation to the estimated costs of policing. Regional police officers voted 86 percent to accept the contract in a vote, last month. Four of the five unions in the CBRM have now signed long-term contracts. The only group left without a collective agreement is the firefighters and conciliation talks with their union will continue next month.
Reserve Mines and Glace Bay area councillor George MacDonald will become the CBRM’s new deputy mayor. MacDonald was unopposed for the position at last night’s council meeting. He’ll replace Kevin Saccary who served his maximum two one-year terms in the post. MacDonald’s term as deputy mayor begins on November 1st. He will get an extra $5,000 for serving as deputy mayor on top of his 36-thousand dollar annual salary as a councillor.
The Sydney Santa Claus parade will be coming to Whitney Pier, after all.
The CBRM Recreation Department had planned to bypass the neighbourhood this year in an effort to cut down on the length of the parade route.
However, people who gathered for a meeting last night to discuss holding a separate parade in the Pier got the good news from their local councillor Jim MacLeod.
The parade will still start at 6:00 PM on November 29th, a change from the 11:00 AM start time.
Participants will assemble on north George Street and end at the mosque on James Street in Whitney Pier.
Meanwhile, Councillor MacLeod says a parade committee will be formed in the New Year with the various groups involved to look at options for the Santa Claus parade in the future.
A Glace Bay man has put together a petition to oppose planned cuts to Transit Cape Breton. Bill Davies says he’s collected eight pages of signatures and plans to drop off the document at Mayor Cecil Clarke’s office today. This spring, Council approved a plan to cut the transit budget by a third to save about 300-thousand dollars a year. Davies says the routes destined for the chopping block include the Steele’s Hill and New Aberdeen run to the Glace Bay Hospital where he volunteers. He adds he and many others who depend on the bus will be stranded without it. Meanwhile, Glace Bay councillor George MacDonald says the cuts to transit have been postponed until the New Year and adds efforts are now underway to find some way around them. MacDonald says Glace Bay MLA and Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan told him more money might be coming from the province to help out with the transit.
The RCMP have released the name of a Richmond County man killed in a fatal vehicle crash early yesterday morning. Police say 42 year-old Shane Michael Sampson from Loiusdale died after his truck left the County Line Road in Cleveland. Emergency crews got the call to the scene at around 2:30. Police say Sampson’s truck left the road and ended up on its roof. They add he was thrown from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Municipal Relations Minister Mark Furey doesn’t seem to agree with a recommendation to deal with the CBRM separately when it comes to municipal finances. The recommendation is contained in a draft report prepared by deputy ministers and municipal officials. But Furey says the Cape Breton Regional Municipality isn’t the only one that’s struggling to survive. However, CBRM Chief Financial Officer Marie Walsh says the municipality should be looked at as a separate case. She adds options such as sharing services or amalgamation aren’t available to the CBRM.
One analyst is predicting another drop in gas prices, this week. Meanwhile, the price of gas took another big dip in New Brunswick, last night. Gas there fell by 5.6 cents a litre while diesel also went down by 2.9 cents. The current minimum price for a litre of regular gas in Cape Breton is $1.31. Diesel now goes for a minimum of $1.30.1.
CBRM Mayor Cecil Clarke says uncertainty over the Sydney harbour divestiture process has forced the postponement of a meeting with investors on his trip to China. Clarke was invited by the Chinese government to attend an international conference outside Shanghai and he left on the seven-day trip last night. Ottawa’s plan to transfer ownership of the harbour bottom to the Cape Breton Regional Municipality has been delayed pending the outcome of consultation with the Mi’kmaq. Meanwhile, Clarke says the federal government has planned a meeting for tomorrow involving Membertou and Eskasoni, and the aboriginal treaty negotiation office or Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative. Clarke adds CBRM officials will also be at the meeting.