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Businessman Blaine Hussey impressed with Stephenville strategic planning process

Blaine Hussey, right, of Growing for Life, poses for a photo with Candace Simon, director of economic development and community partnerships, following a community engagement focus group on Natural Resources on Tuesday afternoon in Stephenville.
Blaine Hussey, right, of Growing for Life, poses for a photo with Candace Simon, director of economic development and community partnerships, following a community engagement focus group on Natural Resources on Tuesday afternoon in Stephenville. - Frank Gale

Blaine Hussey said a citizen engagement process held as part of the Town of Stephenville development  of a strategic plan was an excellent exercise.

The first “Shape Our Future” community engagement focus group discussion on Natural Resources took place at the Cormack Development Centre on Tuesday afternoon with 12 people in attendance.

Hussey, who is a director with Growing for Life – a food production business with plans to get into secondary processing — said these planning sessions are appropriate since they allow for collaboration by people involved with different sectors of business.

He feels through this process they are coming up with a strategy to improve opportunities for those within the natural resources and other sectors.

“From a business perspective if the town and region are already engaged with the strategy, then as an entrepreneur if they are aware of where you’re going, it becomes easier to grow your business,” he said. “That what it’s all about.”

Growing for Life is currently involved in the production of tomatoes with three greenhouses in operation in Black Duck Siding.

Hussey said even though the business is outside the boundaries of Stephenville, what takes place in the region is also good for the town.

“Besides, when we expand our business we want to carry out some production here in Stephenville if the land is available,” he said.

He said the collaboration comes from being involved in different sectors and he used tourism for an example. He said if you’re bringing people into the province, as a food producer the more bellies that are in the province, the more product that needs to be supplied.

In addition to growing tomatoes at the Black Duck Siding operation, the business grows eels and markets them outside the province. It is planning secondary processing for both those foods.

There are plans in the works to create a walking tour through trees, which will be identified, on the property and a restaurant utilizing local foods.

More community engagement focus group discussions are planned to take place throughout November and December involving different sectors.

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Shape Our Future upcoming sessions

Nov. 16 – 2-4 p.m. – Immigration and Newcomers – W.E. Cormack Centre

Nov. 20 – 12-2 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. – Tourism/Culture/Recreation – Location to be announced

Nov. 21 – 2-4 p.m. – Youth/Students – Stephenville Dome Cafeteria

Nov. 22 – 2-4 p.m. – Seniors’ – Queen Street Seniors Club

Nov. 27 – 8-10 a.m. – Business Community – Location to be announced

Nov. 29 – 7-10 p.m. – Inclusion and Diversity – Stephenville Dome Cafeteria

Dec. 4 – 7-10 p.m. – Open Public Forum – D.S.B Fowlow Building Lecture Theatre

Source: Town of Stephenville

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