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SV council notes

Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital in Stephenville. – © File photo

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

STEPHENVILLE — The most recent council meeting took place on Thursday evening, Apr. 6 and matters discussed included the Main Street reconstruction, a PBS event Mayor Rose will be attending, and the movement of the health authorities to a provincial health authority.

Main Street As chair of the Finance Committee, Councillor Myra White moved that council approve the signing of the cost-shared funding agreement outlined by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. The total project value is $3,757,818 and the Town would agree to pay 20 per cent of the cost, for a total of $681,544. “Stephenville Main Street hasn’t had a major, full upgrade since a lot of it was actually put there in the 1950’s. So it’s long overdue. It’s a big project. It will create a little bit of challenges not just for pedestrians, but for vehicle traffic and businesses, but in the long-term it will pay greater dividends,” said Mayor Tom Rose. “What’s great about Main Street is we have so many side roads, so how it will probably go forward is sections will get done at a time so the whole street won’t have to get shut down. It will just go section by section by section. The other thing that is great about this project is, if we can get this done this year, Stephenville is going to be busy enough with the major projects that are happening in 2023, but it’s going to be a lot busier in 2024.” The motion was passed unanimously by council.

PBS Event Coun. Myra White moved that council approve the estimated costs of $4,000 to send Mayor Rose to Lake City, South Carolina, to attend the televised PBS charity event, called Inside the Circle. “I’m going on behalf of the council, like would go to FCM or anything else, and this was something we approved last year,” said Rose. “Basically, Inside the Circle is something that has happened in Newfoundland before, but I don’t think it’s ever happened stateside on this scale. What it is, they go into a non-traditional venue like a manufacturing plant, for example. They take everything out that they can and they stage a production to seat 250-300 people. All those seats are sold, but all the proceeds from those seats go to a charity in the community. The full sale of the seats to the event, on June 24, will go to one of our Stephenville charities, which is really good.” Rose anticipates this event will also mean future opportunities for the town. “What happens is, because we’ve twinned with Lake City, South Carolina, they will bring artists up to Stephenville to perform in Stephenville, and artists from Newfoundland will be going down to Lake City. It’s really designed not just to showcase Stephenville’s talent, but Newfoundland’s talent. We were selected because we are a former U.S. air force town and a lot of service personnel came out of South Carolina and rotated through Stephenville over 25 years, and we were also a 9-11 airport,” said Rose. The motion passed unanimously.

Provincial Health Authority Coun. Laura Aylward said there are still a lot of unknowns regarding how the Provincial Health Authority will function, and whether or not it will make a significant difference. “Overall, everybody has the same questions in their minds, ‘Is it going to make a difference? Are we going to be served better?’ As far as I’m concerned, from my point of view, it can’t be any worse than when we were under Western Health,” said Aylward. “From the beginning, when we went up there, we were never treated fairly, so I can’t see it being any worse.” Aylward is also looking for individuals interested in helping, in their own way, with championing healthcare priorities in the region. “Our West Coast Healthcare Action Committee, which has been ongoing since ‘03-04, we’re restructuring now and I’m looking for members, so if anyone out there wants to be on the committee, I’m asking them to get in touch with me. We need to keep our ears to the ground, see what’s going to happen, because we don’t want anyone to get the idea in their head that they’re going to take our surgical services,” said Aylward. There is an obstetrician/gynecologist ready to come into Stephenville in 2025. Mayor Rose believes previous management didn’t work out, in the respect that the Stephenville Hospital wasn’t functioning at the level with which it was designed, and OR suites and an obstetrics ward were completely underutilized. “For example, I think obstetrics needs to come back to Stephenville. We are going to have a lot of young families, young families have children, and that’s going to be critical for us. I think that’s the first thing, as a council, we need to put on the agenda.”

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