Bell Island busted of perishables and gas

Supplies run short as ferries remain out of service

Published on January 22, 2016
An empty bread shelf on Bell Island. Island resident Tracey Parsons posted the photo to Twitter after finding shelves bare at the local grocery.
Submitted photo

Bell Island Clover Farm grocery manager Lynn Fitzgerald Kent says there’s fewer perishables in their store than she’s ever seen before.

“I’m in this place 26 years and I’ve never even seen it as bad as this with the ice in,” she says.

“It’s just crazy.”

Both ferries that service the Portugal Cove-Bell Island run are out of commission. The MV Beaumont Hamel was undergoing required maintenance when the MV Flanders had to undergo temporary repairs earlier this week. There is air service for residents when weather allows, but food and gas supplies on the island are quickly dwindling.

Fitzgerald Kent says while there’s lots of canned food in the store, perishables such as bread, milk, eggs and produce are all but gone. For bread, the store and the rest of the community is relying on the local Co-op Bakery.

“They’re run ragged,” Fitzgerald Kent says of the bakers.

Pauline Boone is the head baker at the Co-op. Normally on a Thursday, she says, they’ll bake two or three batches of white bread, with 24 loaves in a batch.

This Thursday they baked 13 batches.

“Today, we’ve lost track. I wouldn’t be able to tell you how many we’re after making today, we’re that busy,” Boone says.

All their bread is bunned and cut by hand. While the situation has to improve, Boone hopes the business for the bakery stays once that happens.

“I hope they comes back when all this is over.”

Bell Island resident Tracey Parsons says gas and oil are non-existent, too.

“We are out of gas at our only gas station and unable to get furnace oil to heat our homes. As well as others, I'm nearly out of oil myself, with no other heating source,” she says.

The latest update from the government had the Flanders returning to service this morning, but that hasn’t happened. There’s no word on when the vessel will start making runs across the tickle.