Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s comment that “we can’t pay people to live in communities in this province” apparently doesn’t apply to Little Bay Islands.
After the Daley Brothers closed their plant on Little Bay Islands last year, the majority of islanders sent letters to the minister of Municipal Affairs requesting the government to conduct a formal vote for community relocation under the Community Relocation Policy.
Of the 60 or so letters sent to the minister’s office, only one person received a reply, saying the request for a vote to be conducted has been denied.
There are only 42 permanent households left on Little Bay Islands with only a handful of residents of working age. There is no employment. There are only two children in the school.
For this, the government is keeping a $28 million ferry running back and forth, often empty.
Keeping a diesel plant generating electricity, paying municipal operating grants, keeping three employees at a school with two students, funding make-work projects, funding a targeted initiative for older workers make-work project with only a handful of women attending and various other government inspectors on the payroll.
The minister of Municipal Affairs’ decision to deny a vote on relocation does not jibe with the premier’s statement.
The government is certainly paying us to live in this community.
As long as the taxpayers of Newfoundland and Labrador don’t mind, I guess I don’t mind either.
Little Bay Islands