Nfld. & Labrador

Marystown residents upset about plans for youth home

Some residents in Marystown are upset about plans from a youth care company to put a foster home in their neighbourhood.

Move of youth delayed because of community complaints

Roland Fewer, left, and Alex Stapleton are two residents in Marystown with an issue about a foster home planned in their neighbourhood. (CBC)

Some residents in Marystown are upset about plans from a youth care company to put a foster home in their neighbourhood.

Alex Stapleton says he had no idea Blue Sky had purchased the house next door to him, and had planned to move four young girls in at the end of May.

"There's seven families of seniors here. We've lived here 49 years and we deserve to be left alone to live the rest of our lives in peace and comfort, not to have to go out and lock up every time you're moving around — that's not fair," said Stapleton.

The house would be home to foster children in the care of Blue Sky.

"Right now they say they're going to say, 'We're putting four girls down here,' but what's going to happen in six months time, or a year's time, six year's time? We could have hardened criminals over there, we could have sex offenders living over there, we could have anybody living next door to us," said Stapleton.

Blue Sky is a youth care company that takes care of various foster kids, from those needing temporary accommodation, to those dealing with serious troubles.

'Not a troubled teenager'

A teenager in the Marystown, who CBC isn't identifying, says she isn't a 'troubled teenager' the way people seem to think. (CBC)
One teen, who CBC isn't identifying, said she and the other girls set to move into the home aren't happy with the arrangement, either; they don't want to leave their current home in Burin.

They were supposed to relocate this weekend, but have been told they will have to go somewhere else until the issue with the new home's neighbours is cleared up.

"Right now, everything is very stressful. Our lives are in turmoil, we have no idea what's happening and what's going on and it's hard, and we have exams and publics coming up and I know myself I haven't had any time to study for them," she said.

"It has been said that the group home shouldn't be there because we are all a bunch of troubled teenagers and just have a lot of issues, but that is not true — I am not a troubled teenager."

Issue of zoning

Some other residents take issue with Blue Sky's calling the residence a foster home, instead of a group home, in what they said is an attempt to get around zoning issues.

Resident Ken Barron says the company seems to be planning a foster home without any regard for consulting with the community. (CBC)
"We've got no major problems with the youth that's going to be coming there, it's just that they [the company] can step in suddenly and put anything, anywhere, a business in between a residential area and all this sort of thing. This is a residential area zoned," said area resident Roland Fewer.

Ken Barron said the issue he has is with the way the company handled the situation, rather than the youth coming to the home.

"Seems to me like Blue Sky don't really care, to come in without permits and just overshadow people," said Barron.

"The town do have a responsibility to make sure people feel comfortable on their own land, and we don't need to feel threatened from a company."

The Marystown council held two meetings for residents to voice their concerns, and the council is expected to vote on the relocation plans for both homes on Tuesday.