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Stephenville council seeking resolution on Cold Brook permits issue


Published on July 10, 2017

Coun. Tom Rose listens during discussion at last week’s regular general meeting of the Stephenville town council.

©Frank Gale/The Western Star

Coun. Tom Rose says the Stephenville town council needs to have more discussion about the issue of permits in Cold Brook, and Mayor Tom O’Brien agrees.

Rose said at the regular general meeting of council last Thursday that from what he has read from the water resources management division, there will not be any effect on Stephenville’s water if more homes are permitted in Cold Brook.

He says there shouldn’t be any problem if there were just some infilling permits for people in the community who already purchased land from the provincial government. 

“We need to take a greater leadership in this,” Rose said. “Let’s have (Dorothea) Hanshar, groundwater resources manager, come in or at least have a teleconference call on this.”

O’Brien said he would like to have discussions as well, since there seems to be some differences on the issue in several emails sent by officials of the groundwater resources division. 

In one from Hanshar, the recommendation was that representatives of the Town of Stephenville consider further work to ensure any development would be in the best interest of the town and Cold Brook.

She said it was her opinion that while an AMEC report is adequate as a first step in evaluating the sustainability of development in the community of Cold Brook and assessing the potential effects of such development on the Stephenville well field, it is by no means conclusive. 

An email sent by Hanseen Khan, director with the division, states there is none-to-minimum probability of any adverse impact on the well field associated with the development in this area.

O’Brien said in May he sent a letter to Stephenville-Port au Port MHA John Finn, stating that council would appreciate such a meeting and asked for it at the earliest possible time, since the construction season was nearing. 

He said his understanding is that the meeting is being planned and he’s now trying to find out where it’s going to be held.

“We want officials to come out and explain exactly what ‘none-to-minimum probability’ means,” O’Brien said. 

He said council doesn’t want to proceed with something and then get in trouble if something goes wrong.

“We don’t want to play Russian roulette with our water system,” O’Brien said. 

Rose said the town has put people on hold without solid evidence, and council needs to get people from the water resources division to explain this and iron it out so people who want to build in Cold Brook can proceed.

“The bottom line is that we think we could move the line in Cold Brook to accommodate this, but (water resources officials) need to talk to us so we can make an informed decision,” O’Brien said. 

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