NORTH BOAT HARBOUR, N.L.
It’s been more than a year since North Boat Harbour looked into resettlement, but residents still don’t know if relocation is in their future.
The Great Northern Peninsula town with 27 residents submitted a relocation expression of interest to the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment on July 26, 2017.
A department representative confirmed to The Northern Pen that as of Oct. 2, 2018, it was still reviewing the request.
Access to services has become an issue for North Boat Harbour in recent years, especially as the town’s population ages.
The nearest hospital is nearly 50 km away in St. Anthony.
It’s a long distance to travel in case of an emergency and issues with the road, especially during winter, further complicate things.
The 10 km dirt road leading out of North Boat Harbour to Cook’s Harbour, the nearest neighbouring settlement, is often closed in the wintertime.
The Northern Pen reported in April 2017, following a snowstorm, the road was closed for about a week before a snow blower arrived to clear the way.
The Northern Pen also reported in May of this year the dirt road was washed out and peppered with potholes – provoking safety concerns.
As per the department’s website, the expression of interest ballots the town submitted are not considered actual votes. Rather, “the expression of interest ballots helps to establish what level of community support there is for relocation, which allows the community and the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment to determine whether there is enough support to be formally consider under the Community Relocation Policy.”
This would be followed by an official vote.
If the town is approved under the Community Relocation Policy, each household would receive financial assistance for the move between $250,000 to $270,000, depending on the number of household occupants.