Nfld. & Labrador

Resident of Little Bay Islands 'not impressed' by changes to relocation policy

A business owner on Little Bay Islands says recent changes to the community relocation policy are unfair to part-time residents.

'Just trying to separate one taxpayer from another,' says Sharlene Hinz

There are fewer than 100 people living on Little Bay Islands during the summer and fewer than 50 in the winter. (Julia Cook/CBC)

A part-time resident and business owner on Little Bay Islands says changes to the community relocation policy are "unfair."

Just trying to separate one tax-payer from another.- Sharlene Hinz, business owner

"I'm not impressed by this policy," said Sharlene Hinz, owner of Aunt Edna's Boarding House B&B on Little Bay Islands.

On Tuesday the provincial government updated the program.

Now, only permanent residents can vote to relocate — and the definition of a permanent resident is someone who has year-round residency, with a few exemptions.

Many want to relocate

Little Bay Islands has been one of the rural Newfoundland communities most interested in relocating.

Last winter the town had a final vote to decide if the town would go. Only 89.47 per cent of people voted to move, which came under the vote threshold of 90 per cent.

There was argument among some of those residents that the people who voted to stay were people who didn't spend the winter on Little Bay Islands. This would include Sharlene Hinz, who travels during the winter months.

A house stands empty in Little Bay Islands. (Julia Cook/CBC)

Hinz doesn't think she'll be able to vote, if the issue of relocation comes up again.

"I'm not impressed. [They're] just trying to separate one taxpayer from another, to say one person who pays taxes has more rights than another person who pays taxes." Hinz told the Central Morning Show.

Hinz said the recent change decreases the number of eligible voters from 95 to about 40 or fewer.

Issue is separating community

When asked if this recent decision would further divide the community between full-time and part-time residents, she said yes.

My disappointment is in the government.- Sharlene Hinz, business owner

"We have been through this process since we started. It's been five, six years since the very beginning of the process. So, I'm sort of weathered to it now," said Hinz.

"My disappointment is not in the people of Little Bay Islands, my disappointment is in the government."

The business owner hopes the provincial government can come up with a compromise that would allow some people to move and some to stay. But Hinz just wants it to be over.

"I've been so frustrated by it, to this point it's like, I don't really care. Whatever happens, happens," said Hinz.

The provincial government stated it will not provide services to people who choose to remain in relocated communities. It is still offering up to $270,000 per household to relocate, but will no longer be taking the titles of properties.

About the Author

Julia Cook

Journalist

Julia Cook reports from CBC's bureau in Gander, primarily for the Central Morning Show.