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Stephenville council notes: September 23, 2021

By JAYMIE L. WHITE

Stephenville council chambers. – © Jaymie L. White

STEPHENVILLE – The most recent Stephenville Town Council meeting took place on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 23 and it marked the last council meeting before the municipal election took place on Sept. 28. Councillor Mark Felix was unable to attend. Topics discussed included prostate cancer awareness, a donation for the Stephenville Historic French Cultural Association, the importance of upkeep on properties in town, and updates on the playground to be placed in Blanche Brook Park.

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Mayor Tom Rose declared Sept. 2021 officially as prostate cancer awareness month. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in Canada and 1 in 9 men in Newfoundland and Labrador will be diagnosed with the disease. The survival rate is nearly 100 per cent when detected early, but 3 in 4 men will die if it is found late. People with a family history are at greater risk.

Coun. Laura Aylward said that it is extremely important to raise awareness for the disease.

“In late May-June, there were four men in this area aged 67/68 to 75. The 75 year-old was my brother. He had his birthday when he came back after having 23 rounds of radiation treatment. All four men were in St. John’s at the same time having radiation treatments for prostate cancer,” shared Aylward. “I’m sure there were other men in there with prostate cancer, but to have four men from this area, to me, was really something.”

Mayor Rose added that the current health report recommends the possibility of only having three main hospitals in the province.

“Healthcare is important to us as we grow our province, as we grow our community and our region. The health report that is out about the possibility of having just three main hospitals in Newfoundland, and that is not going to work for us in this region,” said Rose. “We know that if we lost our services here at Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital, more people will die. We have an aging population and we are talking about increasing our population. This will be a means to decrease our population because more people will die.”

Historic French Cultural Assoc.

Coun. Maurice Hynes, who is retiring from Stephenville town council, said it was the recommendation of the Finance Committee that the Town of Stephenville provide a $1,000 donation to the Stephenville Historic French Cultural Association. The motion was passed unanimously. Hynes said it is important to show support to all cultures in the region.

“The Friendly Invasion has brought life to the American influence here from 1941-1946, and that has been mostly successful. I think the growing number of interest in our Indigenous people has really taken place,” said Hynes. “I think the growing number of this is the other part of the triangle – the French culture – and that needs to be recognized.”

Property upkeep

Numerous recommendations from the Planning and Traffic Committee were relayed by Deputy Mayor Susan Fowlow and approved by council in regards to upkeep for businesses in Stephenville. Mayor Rose remarked on how nice it is to see properties getting ‘spruced up’ in the Stephenville area and how important it is for the town.

“We, as a town, have our own issues with some of our properties that have to be cleaned up, but it’s nice when you see businesses and residents doing their part,” said Rose. “We had people participate in the beach cleanup which is a part of taking care of your environment and taking plastics and litter from your town. We need to focus on that.”

Blanche Brook Park playground

Town Manager Mike Campbell stated that the playground is currently in the design phase, and that COVID pushed back the delivery of necessary equipment. The hope is for construction to begin in the spring after the snow melts.

Mayor Rose suggested that, now that the Federal election is over, it may be time to place signage up regarding the upcoming park so the community can be brought up to speed. The layout plans for the park are nearing completion and should be provided to town council soon.

“We had some discussions even prior to the design of the playground on if we would go with a splash pad or not, and the cost was somewhat prohibitive in terms of that discussion,” said Deputy Mayor Fowlow. “We talked about the amount of time it would actually be able to be used and compared it to the cost to have one and decided that we would move with the rest of the playground without the splash pad. Since then a number of municipalities have had some difficulties around safety issues with splash pads, so my understanding from the Planning and Traffic Committee was that we ruled out the splash pad piece of it and just have the playground.”

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