Friday, September 11, 2009

But you didn't hear it from me!

I'm not saying but I'm just saying.
This is on the front page of today's Daily Gleaner.
I did speak to Mr. Berry yesterday and gave him my comment for him to use when he ran this piece.
Plus, it's been on every radio station this morning.
Geez, even Premier Graham couldn't wait until it was official before saying something!
I'm just passing along the message.
That's not really telling is it?

NB Liquor makes tracks to station

Published Friday September 11th, 2009

Deal | Crown corp. says new store to be twice the size of old one on King Street A1 By SHAWN BERRY

Fredericton's historic train station is getting a new lease on life.

Better days ahead: NB Liquor is taking over the York Street Train Station, where it plans to build a liquor store.
The provincial government has given NB Liquor the OK to rent the Fredericton landmark owned by J.D. Irving Ltd."
A deal has been negotiated with JDI for NB Liquor to lease the refurbished York Street Train Station," said Fredericton-Silverwood MLA Rick Miles on Thursday.
The York Street Train Station has been a focal point of debate over heritage properties in the city. In recent years, residents have grown concerned that the roof would collapse in winter under the weight of heavy snow.
Details of the lease deal weren't available Thursday.
While a media conference is expected next week, Premier Shawn Graham let out word of the deal during a funding announcement Thursday for the Fredericton YMCA.
"We're going to be back here soon for another important announcement for a little railway station down at the bottom of the hill," he said.
Officials from J.D. Irving said they continue to pursue a development on the site that will facilitate the restoration of the train station.
"We are hopeful of good news in the near future. We are unable to comment further," said company spokesman Geoff Britt.
NB Liquor CEO Dana Clendenning confirmed there's an agreement, but he wouldn't discuss specifics, such as the price.
"The terms and conditions are still being kept confidential,'' he said. "They're not finalized. We will have a press conference next week.''
Clendenning did say the location will be run as a corporate store that will have a unique design and unique services.
He said the Crown corporation likes the location given the easy access, ample parking and the store's proximity to the downtown, residential areas and university campuses.
NB Liquor was criticized for its decision to abandon the downtown when it closed its store on King Street last year.
The new store, he said, will be about twice the size of the King Street one.
The liquor store deal, which will see the property rejuvenated, is expected to help spur commercial development on about eight acres of surrounding land, Miles said.
"It's hoped that this project will stimulate redevelopment in that area of the city," he said. "It's been eyesore for too long."With the cost of restoring the train station pegged at $2 million, J.D. Irving said it would need to redevelop the property in the context of a larger business venture.
Mayor Brad Woodside said it was time for something to get done.
"I think this is as good as it gets in terms of news for Frederictonians. I say that because we have been subjected to this eyesore for so long," Woodside said from Collingwood, Ont., where he's attending meetings of the board of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Woodside has been vocal about the need to do something to the property.
"I meant what I said ... People have been upset with me every time I stood up and made it an issue, but I was determined to see a resolution."
Under the Heritage Railways Stations Protection Act, the owner of a historic train station isn't obliged to fix it up, but must get a ministerial order from the federal Environment Department to alter the structure or demolish it.
The nature of the federal legislation left the city powerless to intervene, Woodside said.
"There was absolutely nothing that I could have done. If there was, I felt seriously enough that I would have taken someone to court."
Tim Scammell, president of Fredericton Friends of the Railway Inc., a community group that has pressed decision-makers to keep the station from crumbling, welcomed the news.
"I think that's absolutely wonderful. We've been waiting six long years for this," he said Thursday.
"I always said I don't care who goes in and takes care of it, as long as it's fixed. I'm glad it's going to be saved because otherwise we were heading down that track of being lost forever."
Members of Branch 4 of the Royal Canadian Legion were reportedly working on a proposal to buy the station.
The choice was logical, members said, given that the last glimpse of home for many local servicemen who served in the two world wars was the train station.
Clendenning said NB Liquor acknowledges that the station played a pivotal role in the lives of many New Brunswickers and especially those who headed off to war.
"We are discussing ways of recognizing the role that the station played in the transportation of veterans to and from the Second World War."

For the record, I am totally on side with what is being discussed here and have advised all stakeholders that I am willing to be there and assist every step of the way.
A few years ago I did criticize Brad Woodside for what was (was not) going on to preserve the station but we have long since pitched tents in the same camp and gave joined forces.
But this isn't anything official!

Stay well,

Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

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