Tiny community facing relocation

Two permanent residents to determine fate of Round Harbour

Steve Bartlett sbartlett@thetelegram.com
Published on January 28, 2012

The people of Round Harbour will soon be asked if they want to resettle.

Municipal Affairs says it will "soon commence the process of a vote by permanent residents to determine if they wish to relocate."

That shouldn't take long - the village at the eastern tip of the Baie Verte Peninsula has a population of two.

So here's the potential challenge - according to Municipal Affairs, "Relocation must be supported by 90 per cent of the permanent residents of the community."

That means both residents must agree.

The Telegram was unable to reach either of the livyers, but the vote could be split, meaning the harbour could be 'round for a while yet.

Last December, in an interview with The Nor'wester - Transcontinental Media's newspaper covering the Baie Verte area - a man who calls the community home said relocation would be detrimental to his livelihood.

At the time, Lorne Fudge and his wife were fishing three crab licences from the community each year.

"I've invested a lot into fishing in Round Harbour," he said.

"Everything I have is there. It's not like we can change that all of a sudden and move somewhere else."

Fudge, who also had a home in nearby Harbour Round because his daughter was in school, said he had voiced his position to Municipal Affairs.

"I guess now all I can do is wait it out and see what happens," he said.

Fudge lost his stage and wharf in Round Harbour to Mother Nature the following month, but said in a subsequent story he had no plans of quitting.

Rudy Norman, now editor of The Nor'wester, wrote both stories involving Fudge.

He said it's his understanding Round Harbour was once a thriving fishing community that has seen its population dwindle.

"But most of the people you talk to who moved out of there still consider Round Harbour to be their home. ... I think a lot of it is an emotional connection to Round Harbour. It is where they lived. It is where they grew up."

Norman said the community doesn't have much in the way of infrastructure and is hard to reach.

"You might be able to get there in a truck or something in the summer, but in wintertime, it's nearly impossible to get there."

Municipal Affairs received a request in July 2010 to examine the possibility of relocation.

A spokesman stressed this week it will only initiate that process if asked to do so.

Once the request was made, the department did a review and determined the permanent population to be two.

Norman noted some of those who call Round Harbour home were excluded from the upcoming vote because legally they don't live there.

sbartlett@thetelegram.com Twitter: @SteveBartlett_