top of page

Stephenville council on sale, safety and wind

Stephenville Town Council – file photo

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter STEPHENVILLE — On Tuesday evening, Dec. 5, the Town held a special meeting of council. Matters discussed at this meeting included the sale of a property on Minnesota Drive, the Santa Claus parade, and the wind development project by World Energy GH2.

Sale of Minnesota Drive property On behalf of the Finance Committee, Coun. Lenny Tiller moved that the Town of Stephenville sell 9.42 acres of vacant land at fair market value located on Minnesota Drive to GDR Enterprises Limited to accommodate clinic and office space. “This is really good news for the Town of Stephenville,” said Mayor Tom Rose. “The provincial government, in their budget for 2023, put in an allocation of funding to build a new collaborative care clinic for the Stephenville, Bay St. George, Port au Port region, and it is a significant tender. The building will come in under $15 million, but the total tender in the partnership agreement is in the tune of $40 million for a 20-year period. This shows a commitment by our provincial government to enhance assets, equipment, buildings, to accommodate a challenging healthcare system in our province. When it comes to attracting or retaining doctors, nurses, specialists that work in these collaborative care clinics, having the right facilities with modern, innovative HVAC systems is critical in the retention and the recruitment. This is a very significant piece of land. It’s in a perfect location adjacent to the Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital. This clinic will actually play a pivotal role in reducing the demand on our emergency department, and it’s a new model that Health Services NL has rolled out, which is really beneficial and what’s really good for the town of Stephenville is it’s a piece of asset that we own in the form of 9.42 acres that will sell at market value. So this is a good day. It’s great. This company might be able to get started as soon as possible once permits come through the town of Stephenville and its management.” Continued Rose, “We have done a lot of lobbying as a council over the last two to three years with government officials saying that the building that we had our doctors, nurses, specialists in as a clinic was substandard. It posed a lot of disability issues, and it was very challenging for not just the staff, but for the patients that went there.” The motion was passed unanimously by council. Santa Claus Parade safety Mayor Rose thanked the Public Works Department and Marissa Abbott for their hard work on this year’s float, which he thinks is the best that the Town has ever had. “People are stopping me steady, telling me how pleased they were with the parade,” said Rose. Despite how impressive the parade has been year after year, there is one concern he wanted to discuss. “What is always a concern of mine, and maybe we could talk to the Bay St. George Kinsman Club for next year, is we have it at night,” said Rose. “Having it at night, sometimes for businesses and people. It’s a little easier. You get time off to do it. Having it at night, sometimes seeing something that’s lit up probably looks a little bit better, but there is a safety issue with having it at night, and it’s only, I believe, last year in Quebec that a young child fell off the float, was run over, was killed, and maybe we could look at having it on a Saturday morning at 10:00. That’s something that I really think from a council perspective that we need to talk about. Remember, safety is critical, and it’s something that, I guess, as we roll into next year when the Kinsman Club starts talking about the Santa Claus parade, we’ll probably talk a little bit about it also.” “We might even argue about it, whether darkness was the only issue in that particular incident. I think the possibility of someone falling off a float and that happening is probably as likely 10:00 in the morning as it is in the evening,” said Deputy Mayor Susan Fowlow. “So I’m not sure that I’m kind of in support of the evening thing. I think the pros outweigh the cons, but I certainly will debate.” “I can throw something in there,” said Coun. Myra White. “What I found it wasn’t the children. It was the adults passing in between, going across the street and they were going, crossing in between the floats, and I was really surprised at that because that’s an example that we don’t want the little kids to be watching, but they did. They didn’t go up to a sidewalk or they didn’t wait. They just went through like that where I was standing and that happened and there was cars parked on the side of the road. So the little kids that couldn’t see it, they were kind of coming to see, peep around the cars before they actually came down the street. That was two things that I had noticed there.” “Maybe an enhanced safety thing is we could look at cordon off with ropes on the sidewalks that actually controls people that they can’t step out into the street and maybe that’s something,” said Rose. “Increasing the safety could be a really good measure that we could look at and that’s a very easy one to implement.” “Mr. Mayor, I agree with you. I think the parade should be held in the day, in the daylight because I don’t think the children get the benefit of it at nighttime. I mean, I know it looks pretty with all the lights and all that, but St. George’s and Stephenville Crossing and Cape St. George, that’s three communities that I know of that have it in the day and it works out beautifully,” said Coun. Laura Aylward. “Everybody gets to see everybody and I don’t think lighting is fine, but I don’t think that the children get the benefit of it when it’s held nighttime.” “One of the other things I’ve heard is, and I’ve experienced, because I kind of live it. I have a four year old and a six year old, so their bedtime is 7:00 p.m. It’s very challenging for young families to get toddlers out at 6:30 to 8:00 at night because it’s kind of their bedtime, too,” added Rose. “So I think it’s nice to talk about it. Let’s talk about enhancing safety and let’s hope we have one as good next year as we had this year.” World Energy GH2 Mayor Rose wanted to address the rumours circulating regarding the wind development project after an article was published talking about a delay. “Just for the record and for clarity, for anybody that’s listening and for Council, is that there is no delay with the project in Stephenville with World Energy. The newspaper article kind of misrepresented some of the offtakers that’s going to be purchasing ammonia from the different players in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia that has hydrogen developments happening,” said Rose. “Remember, we are first off the mark with our project right now in the province. It’s only World Energy that has submitted an EIS. It’s been reviewed. It’s been slowed with a couple of time bars associated with it, but in addition to that, World Energy was slowed with the change to the Crown Lands application, and that happened after they had submitted and we had spoke many times about that. So, for the record, we were looking at 2025 for shipping ammonia and that was going to be late 2025. It could be early 2026, but for the uptake agreements that World Energy has, it is sound and this is not jeopardizing anything with the project. And for the record, I just wanted to clearly say that sometimes newspaper articles can misrepresent all the facets of a project or the major projects that’s happening worldwide with the hydrogen. As we well know, there’s hydrogen projects that are happening in Saudi Arabia.” Rose also wanted to highlight the support for the project that was evidenced by the recent rally. “It was really uplifting, it was, to see so much support at the rally that took place for World Energy GH2. It was a grassroots rally where businesses, families, children, communities, regions came to Stephenville. Between 1,500 and 2,000 people showed up,” said Rose. “It wasn’t a perfect day. There was a bit of wind out there, so to me, that is a perfect day. We got a wind energy project coming, but it just showed that the support is here. The silent majority felt that. The minority of people that are against it for various reasons. They have a role to play, and I’ve said that many times. They bring a heightened sense of due diligence to the project by asking questions. But from my perspective, a lot of the questions that they’re asking, really questions are being asked because they’re not informed on what this project is. This is truly a game changer for the province. It will be a royalty regime on this, no different than the oil and gas sector, and we have truly become a global asset because everything that Stephenville has, from ports to airport being in Canada, close to the markets. But the biggest check box, once again, was the wind, and that’s what brought it here. This project is scaled as one of the biggest in the history of Atlantic Canada. So the 1,500 people that came out sent a very strong message to World Energy that we’re behind them. They sent a very strong message to government that the majority wants this, and remember, government wants this. It’s the government at the end of the day that decided to lift the wind restriction and to allow wind development. That’s very, very important. Their departments have to go through their due diligence. It is a significant project.”

1 view0 comments
bottom of page