This comes following a policy review of the Community Relocation Policy that allows government to offer financial assistance to communities where 90 per cent of its residents want to relocate.
The Department of Municipal Affairs did the review.
“Our government recognizes that a mix of factors such as geographic isolation, an aging and declining population, and challenges accessing services may cause residents to request government assistance to relocate, and we want to be responsive to their needs,” Municipal Affairs Minister Eddie Joyce said in a news release Tuesday afternoon.
“We firmly believe that there has to be a strong consensus from communities before proceeding with the process. That is why the vote threshold will remain at 90 per cent to get a true picture of where permanent residents stand on the issue.”
The following key changes will be made as a result of the review:
• The definition of permanent resident will change to year-round residency with appropriate exemptions.
• The timeframe for calculating the cost-benefit analysis will now be over a 10, 15 or 20-year timeframe, depending on demographics.
• Residual services will not be provided to residents who choose to remain in a relocated community.
• The provincial government will continue to provide financial assistance for relocation, but will no longer be taking title to the properties.
A legislative amendment to the Evacuated Communities Act eliminates references to the provincial government acquiring title to properties received second reading in the House of Assembly Tuesday.
The amount of financial assistance, up to $270,000 for property owners who relocate, will remain the same.
More information on the Community Relocation Policy is available at www.ma.gov.nl.ca/publications/relocation/Community_Relocation_Policy2016.pdf.