Resident pleased with denial of application for foster care home

Frank Gale
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A request by Blue Sky Family Care for the operation of a foster care home at this residence at 8 Russell Heights has been denied.

Maurice Hynes was pleased to hear Stephenville town council unanimously denied a request from Blue Sky Family Care for the operation of a Level 4 foster care residential home at 8 Russell Heights.

Hynes, who lives directly across the cul-de-sac from the home, was among a number of residents on that street who attended the council meeting Thursday, as well as a meeting held by Blue Sky the evening before at Days Inn in Stephenville.

The company wants permission to renovate the house for use as a foster care residential home, but there were plenty of concerns expressed by people in the neighbourhood.

Council denied the permit, at the recommendation of the town’s planning and traffic committee, due to the level of care and treatment to be provided in the home as outlined by Blue Sky. Council deemed the proposed use to be institutional, which it said is not a permitted use in a residential, medium-density zone.

Blue Sky Family Care, a for-profit entity, won the contract to provide the care, which was formerly provided by the Bay St. George Youth Assessment Centre. The not-for-profit organization also bid to provide the service, but was not awarded the contract.

Mayor Tom O’Brien said the town will work with Blue Sky Family Care and the provincial government to find a suitable location.

“This is a service that’s needed in the Bay St. George Region and this type of care has to be provided for children and youth that require it,” he said.

Hynes said about 25 people attended the Wednesday evening meeting, which was by invitation to the residents of Russell Heights. He said there are only about 14 residents on the street, however, so the rest came from the surrounding neighbourhood.

He said some were almost in tears because of the proposed plans by Blue Sky.

“Ours is a street with people who are retired or about to retire, and for Blue Sky to insert themselves right into this location is not right,” Hynes said.

He was upset with the process Blue Sky had taken, purchasing the property without the town’s knowledge.

Hynes said he has strong concerns about safety, the amount of traffic this will create on the street and how it will affect the property values for homeowners.

While Blue Sky talks about having an excellent program, Hynes said residents that come into the facility can have complex problems and some are there awaiting trial, leading to more concerns.

Anne Whalen, executive director of Blue Sky, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Organizations: Stephenville town council, Days Inn in Stephenville.The

Geographic location: Blue Sky, Russell Heights

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Recent comments

  • Devil's Advocate
    May 14, 2014 - 10:18

    A disdain for youth has always existed in Newfoundland, from what I have experienced growing up here. It's a "children should be seen and not heard" culture on this island, for the most part.

  • Sadden by the ignorant views of people...
    May 10, 2014 - 22:57

    Maurice Hynes and the rest of the Russell Height's residents... You should be too ashamed to lift your heads after this! Do you consider yourself, your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to be the perfect children? Your stubbornness and inability to see outside of your little world as taken away a beautiful home and home life for children from the ages of ONE DAY OLD TO 18 YEARS OLD! One woman even said, "I would not allowed my dog to walk on the pavement that these children walk on." WOW!!!!! I sincerely hope that she isn't a mother! How could anyone say something like that and show their face in public afterward? This home was meant to be a safe haven for children that have been taken from his or her home due to the fact that the parents are unable to care for them. These children will be coming from homes with parents that are abusive, addicts, etc. or parents that are in need of help until they get themselves back on their feet. As for thinking that this home will take the place of the Assessment Centre, no it won't! We all make mistake, and we all made them has children. I know my children did, and I did. Sometimes they need that extra bit of guidance. The staff in the home are trained to provide for the needs of the children. Pretty much the same as what all of the Russell Height's residents have cared for their children over the years. They will be given a warm, loving home environment where they will know they are safe. These children would have been able to get out of school and come home and know that there was plenty of hugs and kind words for them if they had a bad day. Russell Height's residents, didn't you do the same for your children over the years. These children will not have a Mom or Dad around and the staff could have made sure that they received the guidance and support that they needed the same way that the Russell Height's residents must have done for their own children in years gone by. Russell Height's residents, that house was beautiful! Do you know that by taking away that house from the children you have taken away a beautiful yard where they could have planted flowers and vegetables, went swinging and played games the same way your children must have played out in your yards. When you were young parents didn't you look out you windows and thank God that you had a beautiful place for your children to play? As grandparents aren't you thankful that when your grandchildren come to visit they have a beautiful place to play?I'm sure you did and do! This is what these children would have had! And, you, residents of Russell Heights has taken that away. You and anyone that may share those views should be too ashamed to go out in public after this. I sincerely hope that everyone of you read this. I have one thing that I would like to say... I have been a single Mom for over 20 years , and a teenage Mom at that. I have made many mistakes as a Mom, but was blessed to have wonderful parents and role models that have guided me along the way, as I guide my children now as they are parents. Some people don't have that support and love, such as many of the parents of the children that would have been living in that beautiful home. If my life had been different and I was unable to provide my children with the support and guidance they needed, I would be for ever thankful to know that they were in a home run by an organization as Blue sky.

  • Melanie
    May 10, 2014 - 18:44

    Sounds unfortunate. What an amazing opportunity something like this could be for the residents in this area, to pour their love on a group of children definitely in need of love, care, and security. I would love to live near a center like this. Too many kids in horrible living situations that need to be reached out to. Imagine if you were one of them.. I will be praying that kids in need of this program will find loving people to care for them and a secure homey place to live.

  • Someone who cares about the children
    May 10, 2014 - 09:04

    I see Maurice ran to the newspaper pretty quick to tell the "great" news. The residents of this street doesn't understand that this home was meant to be for children and youth, ages ranging from enfants to 18 years of age who are taken away from their families, abuseive, neglected homes, drug addicted homes, etc. Blue sky is Not running the youth assessment home, it is not a correctional facility, or a home for young offenders and this is what the residents of Russell heights are making accusations about, although they were made aware of that in the meeting. The home was purchased because they wanted to give the children a more homely setting to live in instead of an "institution in the back of the woods" as one lady rudely commented out of stupidity. These children will have needs that the workers need to work with because again these children are coming from homes of abuse, neglect, drugs and the list could go on. These children are not awaiting for trial as Mr. Hynes has stated. To keep in mind they will be times small children will be taken from their homes and have no where to be placed why waiting for a foster home, and where would they go? Blue Sky! Accusations that young offenders will be in their backyard is absurd.