Little Bay Islands prepares for new resettlement vote
The town council on Little Bay Islands has started preparing the paperwork for a new vote on resettlement.
The push to relocate the 70 residents of the town is picking up steam, thanks in large part to the provincial budget.
In March, the province increased the amount of money it would offer to families who wanted to relocate to larger areas from $100,000 to $270,000.
"Before, they were saying 'no, we wasn't going, we wasn't going,' " said Dennis Budgell, a Little Bay Islands councillor.
"But when the government come up with this new amount of money, they said 'at least now we goes, we got money to go and buy a new home somewhere else.'
"I can understand that. I can understand the people who don't want to leave, too."
Most residents are seniors
The remaining residents of Little Bay Islands are mostly seniors, with only a handful of people in the community working. And there is only one child in the local school.
The town is accessible only by ferry, which makes for many lonely crossings.
"You go outdoors now, you can walk this town all you like, and you won't see nobody," said Budgell. "No one on the roads, no young people left, nothing."
Budgell spearheaded an effort for resettlement in 2011, after the community's fish plant closed.
At the time, Little Bay Islands didn't get the 90 per cent "yes" vote required for the province to approve the move.
Another vote was underway when last month's budget was announced, but the council has since scrapped that and started preparing for another one based on the new offer from the province.
Budgell said he hopes the 90 per cent approval is now within reach.