By JAYMIE L. WHITE
Special to The Appalachian
STEPHENVILLE —The most recent town council meeting was held on Thursday afternoon, Aug. 19. Those not in attendance were Deputy Mayor Susan Fowlow and Councilor Maurice Hynes.
Matters discussed included an amendment to the Gas Tax, a 9-basket disc golf course, rezoning around Small Gull Pond, updating signage and downtown accessibility.
Expense Cheque Listing
Coun. Don Gibbon reported on behalf of the Finance Committee that the expense cheque listing for July 2021 totals $833,446.42.
“Obviously a very significant amount,” said Mayor Rose. “When we take on capital work projects, sometimes the value of six and eight hundred thousand dollars becomes very significant. Most of our capital works projects are cost shared. We can pay 20 per cent and sometimes there is a 50/50 ratio, but thanks to the good fiscal position that we are in as a council, we can pay the damage.”
Gas Tax Amendment 2019-2024
Coun. Don Gibbon moved that it was the recommendation of the Finance Committee that the Town of Stephenville give approval to sign the Ultimate Recipient Gas Tax Amendment Agreement 2019-2024 in the amount of $2,093,080.00. The fund allows municipalities to choose and plan infrastructure projects they want to spend money on with more flexibility in the types of projects they can choose. Council adopted the motion.
“This gas tax law is a federal initiative and I believe the ratios are based on population, and so anytime that we can keep a citizen or attract a new citizen, it’s instrumental (to) how we get extra revenue. We’re always focused on growing the town,” said Rose.
9-Basket Disc Golf Course
The Bay St. George Disc Golf Association requested planning permission to install a 9-basket disc golf course on the property next to the Stephenville town office located at 125 Carolina Avenue. On behalf of the Planning and Traffic Committee, Coun. Laura Aylward moved that this request be approved.
“We became the first municipality in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to install a disc golf course,” said Mayor Rose. “Even with only nine holes we’ve been holding tournaments for people from all over Atlantic Canada that have come to Stephenville. This additional nine holes will give us 18 and it will jump us into a different league for attracting bigger events.”
Mayor Rose also noted that, as long as you have your own equipment, there is no cost to play, so everyone can get involved.
Small Gull Pond rezoned
Aylward also reported that, under the authority of section 16 of the Urban and Rural Planning Act 2000, the Town Council of Stephenville adopts amendment number 15, 2021 to include rezoning seven point five hectares around Small Gull Pond, immediately south of Route 460, from rural to seasonal residential.
“In seven years, this plan has been amended fifteen times. It shows our council is not stuck and shows good governance, good planning, and good support from the Town of Stephenville,” said Rose
Coun. Mark Felix brought up the fact that there are many older signs coming into Stephenville that could use some updating.
“We have some signage without our logo on it – those old wooden signs that were put up a long time ago and they are really getting to be outdated,” said Felix. “It would be good if we looked at modernizing the signs now with a high-res signage printer. We can put the town logo on, spruce up some of the signs. There are at least four or five of them that I’ve noticed.”
The matter will be further discussed at a future planning meeting so that the assistant director of public works, who deals with much of the signage, can be present.
Coun. Don Gibbon brought forth the matter of accessibility for people when it comes to the downtown storefronts. The issue was brought up previously and nothing seems to have come of it.
Rose was at a meeting with Minister John Abbott to discuss accessibility.
“Hopefully his department will play a role in helping businesses, municipalities, and community groups get better access, because access is so important,” said Rose.