Monthly Archives: March 2017

Hump Day ends its run in the Times & Transcript after 11+ years

Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you know that my Hump Day column has ended its run in the Moncton Times & Transcript after more than 11 years.

It has been a GREAT run. I truly appreciated the opportunity of sharing my views and stories with readers over nearly 600 columns! I’m very grateful to the readers and editors at the Times & Transcript.

I’ll certainly miss the column and interactions with readers, but it will be nice to get my Monday nights back to myself!

Thank you to everyone for your support and for reading the column for all these years! It’s been an honour!

NEWS RELEASE: MH Renaissance Inc. continues work to attract tenants to MH35 project to rejuvenate former Moncton High School


March 17, 2017
For immediate release

The group of community business leaders behind the MH35 proposal to redevelop the former Moncton High School at the corner of Church Street and Mountain Road in Moncton remains very optimistic and enthusiastic that their project will move forward.

“We continue to receive a number of inquiries from potential tenants for all floors and the arts centre side on a weekly basis,” said Dennis Cochrane, President of MH Renaissance Inc. “While much has been said about moving the Moncton Public Library to MH35, we want to make it abundantly clear that we intend to move forward with or without the library. There is a lot of private-sector interest in the property.”

“We have always said that our preference for the City of Moncton’s contribution to the project would be relocating the library,” Mr. Cochrane said. “We have also consistently indicated that it is not a deal-breaker. We have indicated to members of Moncton City Council that their support for the project would show vision and leadership and was crucial to the redevelopment of the site, and – if they were not prepared to relocate the library – then what were they prepared to contribute to the project so that it could move forward and continue to serve the Greater Moncton community for another 82 years? We have been working with the City of Moncton for more than two years.”

The group working on the MH35 proposal includes Mr. Cochrane, a former Moncton city councillor, mayor, MP and MLA, as well as Jim Lockyer, a former provincial cabinet minister, city councillor and currently a law professor at the Université de Moncton, and well-respected property developers and construction industry leaders John Corazza and Joe Tippett. The proposal would see the former Moncton High School undergo significant internal expansion and renovations, including a renovated auditorium and space for arts groups and artists, including the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada and others.

“It’s our full intention to make the former Moncton High School a beautiful example of what can be done with a heritage building,” Mr. Cochrane says. “Our proposal is to save the entire building and enhance it. Unlike another proposal on the table, we have no intention of demolishing most of it for a parking lot and leaving the auditorium to fall into disrepair. This would be a huge tragedy for our city’s heritage. Moncton deserves better than that.”

“We have been open and honest with Monctonians since day one,” he says. “We have not worked under a cloak of secrecy. We’ve presented to public sessions of council, met with a number of community groups and stakeholders – including the Moncton Public Library Board on a number of occasions – produced videos and architectural drawings, done media interviews and been active on social media. As well, last spring, we held public information sessions. We have been open and transparent. We think Monctonians deserve nothing less.”

Currently, MH Renaissance continues to meet regularly with prospective tenants in the private sector and the arts community. It is also the intent to have the rejuvenated complex be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED) certified, a rating system recognized as the international mark of excellence for green building in more than 160 countries. LEED recognizes that sustainability should be at the heart of all buildings – in their design, construction and operation. Green buildings create a healthier indoor environment for occupants through better indoor air quality, less harmful products, and more natural daylight. They also reduce waste, conserve energy, decrease water consumption, and drive innovation.

“At this time, we want to sincerely thank our many supporters, including the public and many local politicians who are passionate about preserving and enhancing this heritage building. We recognize the love people have for this majestic structure,” Mr. Cochrane said. “It is heartening to know that they share our vision of the former Moncton High School.”


Media contact:

Dennis Cochrane

Hump Day: Mom now has the Internet, so my new career is tech support

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Moncton Times & Transcript

I never thought I’d see the day, but my mother and her husband got their first computer last week. Welcome to the wonderful world of the Internet and all its possibilities!

I can’t imagine not having access to the Internet. On the odd occasion that the power has gone out or the Internet was down, I felt a combination of freedom combined with incredible dread that I didn’t know right up to that second what my Facebook friends were having for supper. It was quite a dilemma, let me tell you. First world problems, for sure.

I seem to remember that I was a bored kid. Sunday afternoons were the absolute worst and most depressing. There was nothing on television (except for interminable reruns of CBC’s Hymn Sing), no stores were open (this was the 1970s and early 1980s) and I was pretty much stuck at home.

One of our great joys was a Saturday trip to the Mountain Road branch of United Bookstore (as it was called at the time) to trade in a whole pile of comics for new-to-us ones. That would make that following Sunday quite a joy, actually, since we were all busy reading our new comics.

But that didn’t last long and boredom would set in again. No Internet. No smartphones. No VCRs. If you missed your favourite television show, you were out of luck. Come to think of it, we might as well have been living with the dinosaurs! At least we would have been kept busy trying not to be eaten! “Here, take my brother, Mr. Tyrannosaurus Rex! He may look skinny, but I can assure you that he’s probably quite delicious!”

So now my mother will learn how to use a computer from scratch. And yes, I had to show her how to turn it on. Hey, if you’ve never used one, you have to start somewhere, eh?

The one thing everyone needs to remember when learning how to use a computer and the Internet: no question is a bad question!

It’s better to ask (what you consider to be) a stupid question than to find your computer infected with a virus or that you’ve somehow given your credit card number to a supposed Nigerian prince who wants to marry you and needed money for the airfare to Canada.

Mistakes will happen, of course, but that’s no reason not to plow forward into the wonderful world that awaits you online. Just use your common sense.

Would you give your credit card number to a stranger who walks up to you on the street? Of course not. Then don’t do it online either. Would you invite a complete and utter stranger with wild eyes and a maniacal laugh who’s carrying a knife into your home who tells you that they want to be your friend? Of course not. Well, don’t become friends with strangers on Facebook either!

Being online doesn’t mean leaving your common sense at the door. If your neighbour came up to you tomorrow and told you that aliens with three heads are roaming the streets, would you believe him? No, you’d probably go over to his house and look for a three-foot-high stack of empty whiskey bottles in his back yard. Well, if you read something similar online, use your same judgment. Don’t share it. Don’t believe it. Don’t freak out about it. Ignore it and move on, just like in real life.

My mother - Freda Cormier - and her new laptop!
My mother – Freda Cormier – and her new laptop!

Getting online has opened up the world to so many seniors who were previously isolated (to varying degrees). If you know how to turn on a computer, open a browser and type a few words, you can now connect to the world.

My mother’s heard about Facebook for years and asks me if anyone in the family has posted interesting photos every time I see her. Now, she’ll have the ability to see all that in real time.

When she watches the news and weather on television and they say to check Facebook or the website for more information, she’ll be able to do it. What is intimidating now will be second nature in a month from now.

And my 11-year-old nephew will be absolutely thrilled! Now that Nanny has the Internet, he won’t have to sit on the neighbour’s steps to borrow their Wi-Fi signal to play his video games when he visits. Boy, will he be surprised when Nanny tells him that she’s online! And hey, if he decides to visit more often (which I’m sure he will), then so be it.

Welcome to the Internet, Mom – and I hope that my future Nigerian step-dad is nice (and rich, too).