With the town slated for resettlement, many residents looking to build new homes in other towns won’t be able to do so until they know when they will receive their relocation assistance funding.
With the electricity scheduled to be cut off by the end of October, a sense of urgency is growing.
Neville Lane is a Kent Homes distributor who has built homes throughout the entire province.
He says he’s received eight or nine calls from William’s Harbour residents looking for him to build homes, not just for themselves but also for relatives.
But Lane can’t commit unless he knows the residents will be able to pay him soon.
And most of them can’t pay him without the government’s assistance.
“I can’t wait all winter for the government to pay them,” he said. “I’d be out of business.”
Lane expresses surprise that government hasn’t already paid out the relocation money.
“They got no money given out to them yet and nothing organized for them to move,” he said. “To me, that’s unbelievable.”
Howard Russell, a lifelong resident of William’s Harbour, is one of the people looking for a new home.
He intends to have one built in Port Hope Simpson.
He says the people can’t leave unless they know when they’ll receive the payout before the electricity is cut off.
If they don’t know when they’re getting the money, and Kent Homes can’t build homes for them until they know, Russell wonders where they can live after the electricity is cut off.
“If they shuts it down, and we don’t get our money, where’s we going to live?” he asked. “I got nowhere to go, I got no home, I got no money to buy a home. This is the big thing.”
In such an event, Russell says people would be forced to remain in William’s Harbour and demand the electricity stay on.
He needs his new house built in the next couple months before winter sets in and makes it more difficult to move off of the island.
“It’s not easy when you got to leave your hometown,” he added. “There’ll never be a home for me again, wherever I go.”
The Northern Pen reached out to the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment. According to the department, it anticipates all the properties from the Local Service District of William’s Harbour will be transferred to the Crown by the end of October. When all the properties are transferred, through the legal process under the Community Relocation Policy, residents will receive their financial assistance. They anticipate this will occur by the end of October.
Regarding electricity, the department is working towards the end of October to have it shut off; however, it says there will be some flexibility depending on when this stage of the relocation process is complete.