Marystown decision against Blue Sky youth home overturned
The Eastern Newfoundland and Regional Appeal Board has overturned a decision by the Marystown town council that wouldn't allow a company to operate a youth home in a residential area of the community.
In early June, council voted against Blue Sky's proposal to open and manage the home, which has four bedrooms and would house youth removed from their homes.
Blue Sky takes care of foster children who have a myriad of needs — from those requiring temporary accommodation to those dealing with serious issues.
Anne Whelan, CEO of the company, said after months of community backlash, the decision is a step in the right direction.
"We expected that outcome. It was the right outcome and now we can move forward," she said.
Area residents who attended the meeting June 4 council meeting voiced concerns about the kind of youth who would be living in the homes, saying the home could house children "with drug addictions, sex offenders, aggressive behaviour, youth corrections involvements and so on."
Council left the door open for Blue Sky to propose another location for the home, but Whelan decided to appeal the decision first.
Children most affected: Whelan
Whelan said it's important for people to remember the ones affected by all of this are children.
"They are in the care of Child, Youth and Family Services because they have been removed from their care because of abuse or neglect," said Whelan.
The appeal board said based on its findings, the council in Marystown "did not apply its discretionary authority" with its own development regulations when it refused the proposed youth home.
Council now has to issue a permit to Blue Sky to allow the operation of the proposed youth home.
Whelan said the town has 10 days to appeal the decision with the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court, but added Blue Sky plans to move ahead with its plans for the youth home as soon as possible.