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Stephenville council focuses on future

By Jaymie White

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

STEPHENVILLE — The most recent town council meeting was held on Thursday afternoon, Aug. 18. Matters discussed included the upcoming head of state visit in Stephenville and the wind development project on the Port au Port Peninsula.

Head of State Visit

It was recently announced that German Chancellor Olaf Sholz and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be signing a green hydrogen deal in Stephenville.

The deal will be signed during the August 21-23 trip of the German delegation, which will see them making stops in Montreal, Toronto, and Stephenville.

Mayor Tom Rose said this is a historical moment for the town.

“Who would’ve ever thought that this council, this community, this province, is going to be receiving – not just an international head of state visit – but an international head of state visit from the Chancellor of Germany, one of the G7 nations, and our own Prime Minister, along with several cabinet ministers, several CEOs from Germany coming in, several IT Green Tech companies from Atlantic Canada coming in to Stephenville. We are poised and at the cusp of becoming one of the world’s leaders in green hydrogen energy development, which is the fuel of the future.”

With the impending visit, there are always additional measures that have to be taken to ensure proper safety and security, and emergency services are also top on the list.

With a lack of doctors and specialists, Rose said he contacted Western Health to ensure the emergency room department will have adequate services in the event of a medical emergency, should one unfold during the visit.

“What I’m so disappointed on is they never had the professionalism to respond to me,” said Rose. “When we see a structure that doesn’t have the professionalism to even respond, because maybe they don’t want to or maybe they hope we are going to go away, maybe you can take that message and go directly to the Minister of Health.”

Councillor Laura Aylward said she will be contacting the acting CEO of Western Health regarding the situation, and then plans to take that information and address it further with the province.

“They’re starting to treat us like they did before, like second-class citizens,” said Aylward.

Rose said that even though this is the first time a visit of this magnitude will take place in Stephenville, it is not without good reason.

“Never has a Chancellor of Germany ever come to a small town in Canada. They may have gone to Ottawa or Toronto, but they’re coming here for a reason. There’s a world energy crisis. The war in the Ukraine, the precipice of Russia has now fractured the energy requirements of the world, particularly in the EU, in Germany, and here’s a chance for Stephenville, Newfoundland,” said Rose. “We have so many check boxes for this investment. Our international ports, our international airport, one of the best weather records. We are in Canada, a very safe country to invest in, but the biggest check box we got, is a renewable, perpetual resource called wind.”

Wind Development Project

Mayor Rose said the project on the Port au Port Peninsula is directly related to the head of state visit taking place this week.

“This project, started by World Energy Group who have been at it for quite some time now with their research and their investment, has now created a catalyst where others are looking at us. In the scale of now as being possibly the largest single private investment in the history of Atlantic Canada, that’s a big statement. This is unprecedented.”

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