Hr. Grace coun­cil­lors at odds over reg­u­la­tion change

McCarthy, Tet­ford vote against re­mov­ing min­i­mal land re­quire­ment

The Compass - - OPINION - BYMELISSA JENK­INS

Coun­cil de­bates

There were eight res­i­dents in the Har­bour Grace gallery Nov. 19 for the bi­weekly town coun­cil meet­ing, with most full of con­cerns over pro­posed changes to de­vel­op­ment reg­u­la­tions.

The changes brought for­ward for ap­proval in Reg­u­la­tion 38 were for re­moval of min­i­mum land re­quire­ments for se­niors’ de­vel­op­ment.

In plain English, any­one look­ing to de­velop prop­erty for se­niors’ hous­ing could do so on any size lot, not the re­quired two hectares in the town’s reg­u­la­tions.

A pre­vi­ous meet­ing al­lowed res­i­dents to voice their con­cerns about the pro­posal, but many left with more ques­tions than an­swers. A de­vel­op­ment is cur­rently pro­posed on Doyle’s Lane in River­head that could only go ahead if this reg­u­la­tion was changed.

At the be­gin­ning of the meet­ing, Coun. Kathy Tet­ford made a mo­tion to de­fer the decision to the pro­posed changes.

“I’ve had no dis­cus­sions with any­one, I haven’t seen any­thing dif­fer­ent than I seen last meet­ing,” she said. “I want to make a mo­tion that we de­fer this un­til… th­ese de­lib­er­a­tions take place, and I as a coun­cil­lor get a clear un­der­stand­ing of what I am vot­ing for.”

Coun. Pat Haire dis­agreed, say­ing he spoke with the town plan­ner, Avro McMil­lan, and it was de­cided to change the word­ing to ex­clude “se­niors’ de­vel­op­ments” from the land re­stric­tions.

Coun. Tony McCarthy also had con­cerns with mak­ing a decision on the changes.

“Coun. Haire men­tioned fur­ther con­ver­sa­tion with Mr. McMil­lan, which sort of puts me off since I’m chair of hous­ing and zon­ing,” McCarthy ex­plained. “I haven’t met with Mr. McMil­lan since our last meet­ing.”

Tet­ford had pre­vi­ously spo­ken with the town plan­ner, but felt like the in­for­ma­tion she re­ceived wasn’t cut and dry.

“When I asked him the ques­tion about chang­ing the word­ing, he said, ‘ Yes you can change it, but you set prece­dence, and you have to be ready for what comes after it,’” Tet­ford said. “And that’s what con­cerns me.”

The mo­tion to de­fer was de­feated, with McCarthy and Tet­ford the only votes for it. Coun. Gord Stone was not present.

Change the words

Coun. Hay­ward Blake brought for­ward the mo­tion to change the word­ing of the reg­u­la­tion to ex­clude se­niors from the clause.

A de­bate en­sued again, with McCarthy and Tet­ford stick­ing to their guns.

McCarthy wasn’t pleased a copy of the mo­tion wasn’t pro­vided to him be­fore it was made, but he had big­ger is­sues with the word­ing.

“The ma­jor con­cern is, why are we pre­pared to take se­niors out of that group as op­posed to any other de­vel­op­ment?” he said.

Blake ex­plained the eco­nomic and de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee dis­cussed it in depth, and de­cided the land re­quired for se­niors wasn’t the same amount as, for ex­am­ple, a young fam­ily.

But McCarthy wasn’t sat­is­fied and asked why the se­niors “need less room than a 40-year-old?”

Hay­ward just re­it­er­ated that the land re­quire­ments would not be the same for se­niors as other groups.

Tet­ford brought up the con­cern for snow clear­ing, and where the snow would get pushed. But another is­sue was also raised dur­ing dis­cus­sion.

“If any­one puts an ap­pli­ca­tion in for a se­nior de­vel­op­ment, or says it’s a se­nior de­vel­op­ment, and then they change their mind later down the road, who’s go­ing to reg­u­late that, who’s go­ing to en­force that its go­ing to be se­niors’,” she ex­plained. “That can be abused.”

When pa­tients of Dr. Christo­pher J. Ped­dle of the Trin­ity Con­cep­tion Med­i­cal As­so­ciates clinic in Car­bon­ear ques­tion why they should get the “flu shot,” the an­swer is not what many would think.

“I swear by it,” he told a Com­pass re­porter on Nov. 19 after fin­ish­ing up with the day’s pa­tients. “I look at it as health in­surance — just im­prov­ing your odds.”

So f a r t h i s year Ped­dle has ad­min­is­tered hun­dreds of flu vac­cines, and has re­ceived one him­self. In fact, he has been do­ing so since 1997, when he be­gan work­ing as a gen­eral prac­ti­tioner.

Ped­dle said there ap­pears to be an in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple who have re­ceived the flu shot since 1997, but he would like to see it in­crease even more.

“A vast majority of peo­ple ben­e­fit from the in­fluenza vac­cine,” he ex­plained. “There’s com­pelling ev­i­dence that ev­ery­one from five to 64 should get it, even healthy in­di­vid­u­als.”

The Gov­ern­ment of New­found­land and Labrador re­leased an in­fluenza re­port ear­lier this year high­light­ing the num­ber of con­firmed cases in the prov­ince for the 2013-14 flu sea­son. Over 350 cases were con­firmed through lab­o­ra­tory test­ing. There were 12 deaths.

Flu vs. cold

The in­fluenza vac­cine is triva­lent, mean­ing it con­tains three strains of virus. What many don’t know is the virus is de­ac­ti­vated, or split, so the per­son re­ceiv­ing it doesn’t get the

The mo­tion passed, with Deputy Mayor Sonia Wil­liams, Coun. Haire, Coun. Blake and Mayor Terry Barnes vot­ing for it.

Open­ing the flood gates

Although the decision was made, McCarthy said it will cause is­sues.

“I’m go­ing to beat a dead horse here, Mr. Mayor,” McCarthy said, ad­dress­ing coun­cil. “As chair of hous­ing and zon­ing, I was given this when I came here — the town plan. Ev­ery decision we’ve made has been based on that. We’ve had peo­ple come in, very up­set with us about de­ci­sions we’ve made. I could stand in front of any­one who came to me and say look, I’m fol­low­ing reg­u­la­tions.”

Now, he feels like that is not an op­tion, since the coun­cil changed reg­u­la­tions and now has to de­fend those changes to tax pay­ers.

“What we’ve done here tonight, we’ve opened the doors for any­body to come for­ward with any ap­pli­ca­tion, they can just say it’s a se­niors’ de­vel­op­ment,” he con­tin­ued. “I don’t see this sit­u­a­tion get­ting a hell of a lot bet­ter… I think it’s go­ing to get worse.”

To con­clude, McCarthy ex­plained the reg­u­la­tion states the de­ci­sions will be at the dis­cre­tion of coun­cil, ref­er­enc­ing pre­vi­ous coun­cil de­ci­sions that could be ap­pealed.

“After meet­ing with Mr. McMil­lan, he made it very clear to me that de­ci­sions made un­der town’s dis­cre­tion are not sub­ject to ap­peal,” he said. “This coun­cil is go­ing to have to stand up in­di­vid­u­ally and say why they support or don’t support some­thing. And cit­i­zens will not have a right to ap­peal de­ci­sions made un­der (reg­u­la­tion) 38.” Tet­ford agreed. “I’ve been around the block here a long, long time. As an em­ployee of the town for 18 years, and I served two terms prior to this term,” she ex­plained. “And the best (de­ci­sions) at the end of the day were when the reg­u­la­tions were abided by. Once you go out­side your reg­u­la­tions, you have noth­ing to pro­tect your­self with. That’s my big­gest con­cern right now.

“And we’re go­ing to end spend­ing prob­a­bly triple, of the amount of money that we’ve spent in le­gal fees in the last year. Things could have been taken care of with­out chang­ing any of this.”

Mayor Barnes ex­plained his decision was solely business, not per­sonal.

“We take ad­vice from a per­son that we pay. He does the town plans. He takes ad­vice from mu­nic­i­pal af­fairs, who gov­erns over us,” he said. “I voted for the best in­ter­est in what I felt was the best decision for Har­bour Grace.

“We all won’t agree on ev­ery­thing here. We never will. That’s democ­racy.”

Dr. Ped­dle pre­pares a sin­gle-use in­fluenza vac­cine at his of­fice in Car­bon­ear.

flu.

Ped­dle con­firmed there have been cases where peo­ple have ex­pe­ri­enced symp­toms after re­ceiv­ing the in­fluenza vac­cine, but it doesn’t mean they have the flu.

“It is cough and cold sea­son now,” he said. “The strains of viruses are in­ac­tive. You can­not get the flu from the flu shot.”

It is common to hear peo­ple say, “I have the flu,” when re­fer­ring to a cold. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment has iden­ti­fied a list of symp­toms as­so­ci­ated with the flu to bet­ter dis­tin­guish be­tween the two ill­nesses.

One of the most prom­i­nent symp­toms is fever — usu­ally 102 F to 104 F. Headache is of­ten present, and gen­eral aches and pains are common. Some­thing that is more of­ten as­so­ci­ated with a cold, rather than the flu, is sneez­ing.

Ped­dle noted two symp­toms common to in­fluenza are the achy mus­cles and fa­tigue. Symp­toms can last seven to 10 days, but some expe- ri­ence them for an ex­tended pe­riod of time.

On av­er­age, some 3,500 peo­ple die an­nu­ally from the flu in Canada, with some 12,200 vis­it­ing hos­pi­tals for treat­ment. Many of those at risk are chil­dren from the age of six months to five years, peo­ple 65 years and over, and those with car­dio­vas­cu­lar prob­lems, such as ob­struc­tive lung dis­ease, which could ex­ac­er­bate symp­toms.

Not all want the shot

Bay Roberts res­i­dent Deanne Dawe has never re­ceived the flu shot, and doesn’t plan on it.

“I think it should be a per­sonal pref­er­ence,” she ex­plained.

In New­found­land, the flu shot is not manda­tory for any­one. But in Van­cou­ver, the dead­line to get a flu shot if you work in health­care is Dec. 1. Those that don’t get it must wear a mask when work­ing with pa­tients. One per­son has been fired since 2012 for re­fus­ing to do ei­ther.

Tony McCarthy

Kathy Tet­ford

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