November 29, 2016
Supporting Strong Communities
Provincial Government Announces Changes to Community Relocation Policy
The Department of Municipal Affairs has concluded its review of the Community Relocation Policy following feedback received relating to the most recent relocation processes. The policy exists so that the Provincial Government can offer financial assistance to a community in which 90 per cent or more of its residents express a desire to relocate to another community.
“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. 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 Honourable Eddie Joyce, Minister of Municipal Affairs
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; and
- The Provincial Government will continue to provide financial assistance for relocation but will no longer be taking title to the properties.
To implement the decision to no longer acquire title under the new Community Relocation Policy, a legislative amendment to the Evacuated Communities Act received second reading in the House of Assembly yesterday. Since government will no longer be taking title to properties in relocating communities, this amendment removes the requirement to obtain a permit to access properties in future relocated communities. In past practice, as the Provincial Government became title holder to residences in vacated communities, having individuals access these properties created a liability issue for the province. With this amendment, permits will only be issued for properties in relocated communities that were previously acquired by the Provincial Government.
The definition of permanent resident has been changed for individuals to require year-round residency with some exemptions. With this change, only permanent residents will be eligible to vote or receive any relocation financial assistance. Amending the definition of a permanent resident, will allow a definitive picture from year-round residents on how they feel about the possibility of relocation.
For more information on changes to the Community Relocation Policy, please visit: www.ma.gov.nl.ca/publications/relocation/Community_Relocation_Policy2016.pdf .
- The Department of Municipal Affairs has concluded its review of the Community Relocation Policy.
- A legislative amendment to the Evacuated Communities Act to eliminate references to the Provincial Government acquiring title to properties received second reading in the House of Assembly today.
- The amount of financial assistance, up to $270,000 for property owners who relocate, will remain the same.
- For more information on the Community Relocation Policy, please visit: www.ma.gov.nl.ca/publications/relocation/Community_Relocation_Policy2016.pdf .
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Media Relations Manager
Department of Municipal Affairs
2016 11 29 4:15 p.m.