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Stephenville council talk tipping fees

A rally to support wind development was held in Stephenville on Saturday, Nov. 25. Council spoke about the town’s future and wind energy during their Nov. 23 meeting. — © René J. Roy / Wreckhouse Press Inc.

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

STEPHENVILLE — The most recent council meeting took place on Thursday evening, Nov. 23, and matters discussed included a grant for the College of the North Atlantic, a waste disposal program, and the wind energy development project by World Energy GH2.

CNA grant Coun Myra White, on behalf of the Finance Committee, moved that council approve a $500 grant to the College of the North Atlantic (CNA) for an achievement award scholarship. “These grants and scholarships and bursaries to students to further their education is very important. Although we’re very fortunate in Newfoundland and Labrador — we have one of the lowest costs post-secondary schools, the College of the North Atlantic which is quasi government along with Memorial University in the country — but it’s still not free,” said Mayor Tom Rose. “And it’s often said that in some societies, for example, education is free, and they say the baseline of the economics of a country is always based on your educational levels, and countries that look at education as a right and look at no cost to students and their community and their residents, it shows a lot of forward thinking and it happens across the world. In Cuba, for example, there is free education. The motion was approved unanimously by council.

Waste disposal program Coun. Myra White, on behalf of the Finance Committee, moved that council approve the implementation of a waste disposal program in order for residents to access Western Regional Waste Management Transfer Station site. “The Town of Stephenville residents will be permitted to use the Western Regional Waste Management card once per year with no fee. Proper identification to verify residency will be required,” said White. “Card users will be required to follow Western Regional Waste Management sorting requirements and non-compliant users may be invoiced for extra charges incurred at the discretion of the town.” “We had some quite a bit of discussion on this particular item because we’re coming out of a process where we provided free access to cards for the regional waste site and (they were) unlimited, and we are finding, in a time where prices are going up, of course, at the regional management transfer stations and in other places, the tipping fees and so on, that it’s become a very expensive thing as we’ve analyzed it,” said Deputy-Mayor Susan Fowlow. “So we are going to move back to, we’re going to keep our spring and fall cleanups, and we are going to be diligent around those cards at one time per citizen of Stephenville. The other point I want to make is one of the other reasons that we’re doing this is because there has been kind of a new development around garbage being cross contaminated. So some of the recycling stuff is added to garbage, some of the garbage is put into recycling, or it’s not going into the right places when it goes up to the dumping station and so on, and so all of those things mean extra costs for us. As a result, we’ve made this decision.” “I think it’s a very important topic. I remember in early years in Stephenville you could take your garbage for free and go to Stephenville dump and we used to bury it. Then we started burning it and then policy provincially got rid of incinerators and we’re still burying it under our management system that we have. We’re still burying it. But the cost associated with it is the big detriment to our society and our green space and our environment,” said Mayor Rose. “My perspective — because I really don’t think there should be a cost for getting rid of your garbage — so what we’ve done in the early years of the Town of Stephenville, we only had spring cleanup. So in the last few years as council, we tried to step it up to have a cleaner, greener community. So we went to spring cleanup, fall cleanup, and then we have bids. Actually our public works, we were doing Friday pickups, we got out of that primarily in July and August also because it’s a time the tourism season and refuse and garbage in front of everybody’s house during that is never a good thing to see. But now this new tipping fee causes a lot of pain, not just the cost, but the cost to get to the Western site that’s in St. George’s. The cost of fuel is very expensive, but this will alleviate some of the pain. So normally every resident got time to put the garbage out in the spring, do it in the fall, and if they do a little house renovation or something to clean out the garage, they can come get a dump car once a year because the cost was getting a little out of control.” The motion was approved unanimously by council.

Wind development Mayor Tom Rose took the time to discuss the importance of wind energy, green hydrogen developments for the Town of Stephenville and the entire region. “Our goal and role is to advance this town, to set direction, work with management, set policy projects and make this town better, leave this town better from when we entered it, and that’s what we will do. But there’s been protests against this, and for the most part, I believe a lot of the protesters are just uninformed. I value who they are and their protests because we are candidates to the charter of rights and freedoms. Freedom of assembly, freedom of speech that is acceptable, but when people are pointing out inaccuracies about why this is bad for us, this is not a nuclear power plant, not another pulp and paper mill, is not an oil refinery, all those things are good, they create jobs, but this is a clean, free, zero-emissions energy project that has Stephenville on the world’s map. We have become a global asset, a global asset with so much international investment, but we’ve seen some small protest groups. We’ve seen it at the World Summit, at the Seawall industrial facility on August 23, 2022,” said Rose. “I’ve seen a small group at Confederation building. We’ve seen a small group at the gravels. We’ve seen our MHA (Tony Wakeham, Stephenville – Port au Port) take a small petition to the House of Assembly that are against this, but now the people are speaking out. They’re mobilizing. This is grassroots. This is community-centric. There’s communities coming into Stephenville from all over our sector, all of our region. Businesses are behind us; individuals, children, students taking wind energy technician programs at the College of North Atlantic. Everybody is behind us and this will send a strong message to help government formulate the approval process as they run through their regiment of environmental (EIS) standards that we’ll get this project moving and 2024 will be one of the greatest success years in the history of Stephenville.” “I was talking to a young couple the other night, lives in Stephenville, born and raised in Stephenville, and he said ‘I’m taking the windmill course at the college’, and he introduced me to his girlfriend, and he said ‘I want my children to grow up here and I want to have a good job and I want to have enough money to support them and I want to build a house and it’s the best place to live,’” said Coun. Laura Aylward. “He’s only 27 years old and that’s what I like to hear and that’s what I hear from the young people.”

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