Nfld. & Labrador

Little Bay Islands resettlement vote based on 'false information,' says former mayor

Perry Locke says "there's no way" there are 95 permanent, full-time residents in Little Bay Islands eligible to vote in the resettlement process.

'Come to this island in the winter and see who's here'

The former mayor of Little Bay Islands says there aren't 95 permanent, full-time residents in the community eligible to vote in the resettlement process. (Julia Cook/CBC)

The former mayor of Little Bay Islands says he has no idea where government got the number 95 for the town's population, adding the resettlement process hasn't been going to plan.

Perry Locke was the mayor when the province first asked for population numbers to start the resettlement vote process.

At the time, Locke said his list came up with 72 full-time, permanent residents of voting age who lived in the community.

A total of 95 residents participated in the relocation vote. Just 10 people voted against resettlement, putting the result at 89.47 per cent in favour. The requirements state a 90 per cent vote in favour is needed to approve the process.

"To me, everything is being done on false information because there's no way this community has a population of permanent residents of 95 people," Locke told CBC's Central Morning Show.

Come to this island in the winter and see who's here and that's a true picture.- Perry Locke

Locke said he's not sure how the population number ballooned to 95, but assumed there must have been an appeal process of some sort.

"I just can't wrap my head around because in no way, shape or form can they say — whatever your opinions on this, fair is fair and to me a fair process hasn't been carried out since this started."

"I don't know what they looked at when they determined it because I thought electric bills and phone bills would certainly tell you the information you needed to determine if a person lived there year-round or not."

'Fair is fair'

Since the resettlement results came in, Locke said there's been an "outcry" from people confused about where the population number came from.

"This community relocation office, if they couldn't do a better job of handling a community of 70 people and determining who's permanent and who's not than they did right here … it just floors me," he said.

"You only got to come to this community in the winter … come to this island in the winter and see who's here and that's a true picture of who's permanent residents of Little Bay Islands."

Locke wouldn't say whether he voted in favour or against resettlement, but added if the process was fair and accurate he would go along with whatever the result is.

"To me, whatever side anybody is on, fair is fair — and in no way this was ever done fair for anybody since it started," he said.

"At the end of the day, if this was all done through fair process, and I or anybody else got to leave my home well that's the way it goes, but this has not been done fair and I think they need to wake up and see where they made their blunders and fix it."

A representative from the provincial government said the next steps in the process for Little Bay Islands will be considered after the Nov. 30 general election.

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