William’s Harbour relocation moving ahead
Residents say move necessary given age of population, lack of services
WILLIAM’S HARBOUR, NL – Bill Larkham has lived in William’s Harbour for most of his 76 years.
At the age of 25, he moved there from Rexon’s Cove, located on the same island, and has lived there ever since. But today, Bill, along with every other resident of the town, has agreed its time to relocate.
A news release issued by the provincial government last Tuesday indicated 100 per cent of community residents who are eligible to relocate have taken the formal steps to do so, surpassing the 90 per cent threshold required.
The province can now take title to permanent residential and commercial properties and advance payments to residents.
Bill and Nelly Larkham are one of just six families permanently settled in William’s Harbour. Other families stay in the summer and move back to nearby Port Hope Simpson, which is reachable from the island by ferry in the winter.
Bill says he’ll miss William’s Harbour, but nonetheless believes it’s time to move on.
“There’s no clinic or nothing here like that and we’re getting old,” he said. “We all wants to get out now. I’m looking forward to it, we’re all looking forward to it.”
He and his wife Nelly will move to Port Hope Simpson, where they’ll have a new home. The town also has a clinic.
Local service district chairman George Russell, who has lived in William’s Harbour his entire life, also stresses it’s important for the town’s aging population to be located somewhere with health services.
They have been preparing for the move for a few years.
Both Russell and Larkham say residents will probably be coming back in the summertime to do some fishing, pick bakeapples, or take care of their gardens. In essence, their former homes will be used as cabins or cottages in the summer season.
Russell is under the impression the move will begin in the fall, but says he would like to have a specific date from the provincial government.
“I’d like to have the real date so that the people can get ready and get on the move,” he said. “If it comes, it’s going to come pretty quick maybe. We don’t know. (You got to move) all the old gear you got built up over the year and your whole lifetime. Not everything, but most of it got to go with you.”
The relocation will cost the provincial government approximately $4 million, but will result in a savings of roughly $7.9 million over 20 years, the release stated.
“Leaving home is never an easy thing to do, especially when it’s somewhere you’ve lived your entire life,” Children, Seniors and Social Development Minister Lisa Dempster, MHA for Cartwright-L’Anse au Clair, stated in the news release.
The relocation is being undertaken under government’s previous policy as the process began before the procedure was updated last November.
Residents of the Town of William’s Harbour, seen here in the fall, will be relocating, according to a recent provincial government news release.