Residents of Little Bay Islands and Long Island have been without a ferry for 15 days. (Read that again, slowly.)
The MV Hazel McIssac, the ferry the islanders rely on, has been out of service due to mechanical issues and the temporary helicopter service put into place to help them is at the mercy of winds and weather.
That leaves residents of Little Bay Islands and Long Island shit out of luck.
And the biggest crime is that it’s nothing new for them. Ice, winds, mechanical issues or the alignment of the stars can stop the ferry from running. Then residents are stuck on one side of the water or the other. They can’t get off their island or they can’t get home. No one can come collect the garbage. Long-awaited medical appointments get cancelled. Errands don’t happen. Plans get cancelled. Grocery shopping doesn’t happen. Furnace oil can run low.
Little Bay Islands has put a very painful solution into play. Very recently a vote there for resettlement passed.
Long Island, though, sits just a short distance from the ‘mainland’ of Pilley’s Island. From the dock on one side you can make out the vehicles on the other side. It’s tantalizingly close. It’s so close. But, as one Long Island resident put it, it doesn’t matter how short the distance is if you can’t get across.
Other islands in the area, like Pilley’s Island, have causeways linking them to the rest of Newfoundland. Long Island got short changed and still has an empty tickle. Residents have lobbied for decades for a causeway but got a pricey ferry instead. They have been having transportation troubles for years, especially in the last two weeks and today they are all going nowhere again. The ferry has not yet returned and the helicopter won’t be flying.
And today is Day 15 without a ferry.
And all us Newfoundlanders who call ourselves proud islanders don’t notice what is happening to our small islanders. Some people even write hateful comments on social media, criticizing Long Island residents for living on an island. It seems you can be proud to live on a big island but don’t you friggin’ dare live on a small one.
Long Island is alive with character, history and tourism potential. But they never ever got the 500 meter causeway they have been repeatedly asking for. (Have you been to Long Island? It’s lovely. You should go… if you can get there, that is.)
Here is the link for the > Long Island Town Facebook page. < Drop them a comment letting them know you’ve noticed that they are stuck out there, a good potato’s throw away from the rest of us. Tell them you see them, and … maybe someone could offer to fly a drone over with a bag or two of non-perishables. And a few truckloads of fill to start a causeway wouldn’t hurt.
[Published on February 28th, 2019]
Read more on greenbayfeed.com:
> Helicopter Service to Take Little Bay Islands Residents to/from Springdale