STEPHENVILLE — The most recent Stephenville town council meeting was held on Thursday evening, Jan. 27. Matters discussed during this virtual meeting included a request for advertising in the Royal Canadian Legion’s 22nd Veterans Service Recognition book, a $5,000 grant to the Stephenville Historic French Cultural Association, a property tax exemption for land developers, financial support for Ground Search and Rescue, Stephenville Winter Carnival 2022, update on healthcare meetings, and the off-ramp on the Trans Canada Highway, eastbound on Route 460.
Legion Recognition Book
Councillor Myra White recommended that the Town purchase a half page advertisement in the 22nd anniversary edition of the Royal Canadian Legions Veterans Service Recognition book in the amount of $705. The motion was passed unanimously.
Mayor Tom Rose said it’s a way the town can show their support.
“We have a Royal Canadian Legion that is very active in the community, very supportive of veterans that have passed, veterans that are present and those serving members now in modern conflicts. We have a strong, strong tradition in this province of serving King and country or Queen and country in our early days. We’ve been remembered here for 500 years. The earliest recognition of our first overseas contingent was in 1776 when 139 Newfoundlanders sailed from Newfoundland to Quebec City to help Canada fight off the Americans. It was an epic battle that took place, and they say in the record books, that if it were not for those 139 Newfoundlanders, there may not be a Canada today.”
French Cultural Association
Coun. White also recommended that the town grant $5,000 to the Stephenville Historic French Cultural Association Founding Members Exhibit 2022 for video production. Council approved the motion.
Mayor Rose was pleased to see this particular request come in because the French culture is one of the three categories that were identified in previous years as in need of more support and recognition, along with Indigenous culture, and the impact of the US air force base.
“It’s perfect timing – 2022 is going to be a Come Home Year. Having a professional video done that’s promoting Stephenville and its unique French culture will pay dividends to our business, our community, and our residents.”
Property Tax Subdivision
Coun. White recommended on behalf of the Finance Committee that land developers who have a signed subdivision agreement with the town be exempt on property tax for unsold building lots effective Jan. 1, 2022 to Dec 31, 2024. The motion passed, and Mayor Rose said it was a smart decision.
“This is an extension on two-year motion that the previous council had put in place, and it allows developers an opportunity, an incentivized opportunity, from council to help them with their subdivision on lots that are not sold. As we well know, with COVID and so forth, there are trying times in business, so I think it’s a good move on council and it shows how closely we are working with our business community.”
Ground Search and Rescue
Coun. White also recommended that the Ground Search and Rescue be authorized to invoice gas for their daily operations on the town’s petroleum account for 2022. Mayor Rose can’t say enough about the organization’s volunteers.
“They are there for when they’re most needed, when there’s imminent danger and possible loss of life that can happen, and whether that’s a snowmobiler in the Lewis Hills in a –30 windchill or somebody that’s drifted off on a boat with a lost engine or lost paddles. There’s so many stories on roles they’ve played.”
He said this is a good move by council to show their support.
“In the last two years a lot of community groups have really had a hard time when it comes to revenues, whether it’s the Curling Club, whether it’s Ground Search and Rescue, and we have helped these groups as a municipality. They’re our friends. They’re our neighbors. They’re our community.”
Stephenville Winter Carnival 2022
Coun. Laura Aylward recommended on behalf of the Planning and Traffic Committee that the winter carnival will be held from Feb. 24 to Mar 1. 2022, with Coun. Tracy Boland and Coun. Tristan Hulan as representatives on committee.
Coun. Boland said they are still in planning with the committee right now, but a lot of outdoor events are being planned.
“The theme is going to be love and we are asking all houses and businesses to decorate in hearts to show their love for their town, their community, and for winter carnival. We plan to do a live video where you can register with the Town of Stephenville if you want to be maybe featured in this video. We are going to go around filming a lot of the people in our community. It’s going to be really good.”
Update on Healthcare Meetings
Coun. Aylward brought up the most recent meeting involving the West Coast Healthcare Action Committee, outlining a few positives that are underway.
Dr. French will be starting work on cataracts in Stephenville once again and the lab at Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital is open for bloodwork appointments for residents.
“It’s because this council has been so proactive in establishing meetings with recruitment people, the Board of Directors with the Healthcare Accord, Minister Haggie,” said Mayor Rose. “We have been doing our job as a council and because of that we have solid communication, solid collaboration. And because we have stepped forward also with a robust recruitment and retention package, these indicators are actually proving to be significant dividends to our community. Healthcare is our number one issue in this town. You can rest assured.”
Mayor Rose hinted at more good news on the horizon.
“We’re going to continue working. We’ve got some new physicians and specialists that’s in the wing about arriving to Stephenville and the Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital, so good times ahead.”
Off Ramp TCH Route 460
Mayor Rose spoke about the letters council wrote to department ministers, identifying key areas impacting Stephenville, and shared one particular item that needs to be added to the agenda. Rose said the off ramp on the Trans Canada Highway, eastbound on Route 460, is a death trap. He wants to reach out to Minister of Transport, Elvis Loveless, to get this matter resolved.
“I think we really need to put that on the agenda and we gotta get government to fix that off ramp. It’s been there for 20-30 years and there’s been accident after accident and we need to put the pressure on government to have their engineers rework that and get that fixed. We don’t want any more fatalities.”