Luck of the draw
PORT AUX BASQUES — Last Friday, March 10, marked the final day for residents who are interested in purchasing a plot of land to build a new home in the Grand Bay West Subdivision to enter their name into the upcoming lottery. The exact method of how the draw will occur has not yet been finalized.
“It’s not concrete yet, but what we’re possibly going to do there is, for example, we’ll take everybody’s name for the land lots, and for land lot number one – I’m not sure of the exact land lot numbers, but I’ll use number one for an example – we’ll put everybody’s name in for that one, and the name that is drawn can either say, ‘yes, I’ll take that land lot’ or ‘no, I want to put my name back in because I’m waiting to see if I can get another land lot,’” said Mayor Brian Button via a telephone interview. “Then we would draw another name and they would get the choice as well. Then we would move on to the next land lot and do the same thing again. It gives an option for people. They can take the one that’s drawn or you can put your name back in and try for the next one.”
Button thinks this method provides an equal opportunity for all. “It gives them a little bit of a choice, but in any draw, once your name comes out it’s the chance you take to put your name back in because you may not get the next one, but it’s a choice they get to make instead of us making it for them.”
If an individual doesn’t get their name chosen in this draw, Button says there’s no need to worry, because more land lots will become available after this first round.
“We’re going to have a lot more. We’re working on getting them, but we wanted to get these first 15 ready so people who know they’re going to build can get started, because we know there is going to be a crunch in getting contractors for building homes, and some people will want to get modular homes, so they want to be able to get ready,” said Button. “If someone doesn’t get one here, there is going to be plenty of land lots. No one needs to worry about that. This is just trying to kickstart the first 14 or 15 that are already serviced land lots so people can kickstart right at the get-go at the start of construction in the spring. We can move that while we’re trying to get more land lots ready.”
Button said they are lucky to have so many lots ready to go.
“If we didn’t, we would’ve had people waiting for homes to get done before they could start building. This way, if I have a contractor that gets a home started for me in April and they are finished in August, the other land lots are ready and they can move to another land lot and start another home, have them in by Christmas,” explained Button. “When we first did this we were asked by government officials to put a freeze on the land lots until they started to go through the process of trying to get the packages started, get packages out to people, and to get people a fair shake on this, get everything in order before we started, all the land lots gone and no opportunities. Just putting people’s names on land lots wasn’t an avenue they wanted to go, so we’re trying to make this the fairest process for everybody.”
The town plans to continue its expansion of the Grand Bay West Subdivision.
“We’re doing extensions over there and we are hoping to move with another 50 land lots, and we have consultants and engineers that are working now to look at how the layout of land is going to be for those. What types of homes, we’re having them look at everything because people are wondering about mini home sections and stuff as well, so we’re looking to see if that can be done as well in the new expansion.”
Modular homes, which can be difficult to differentiate from manufactured homes thanks to modernizations in their design, are allowed on the land lots, but the possibility of an area for mini homes is still under discussion.
“When you’re going to bring those in, you usually develop a particular street or subdivision area just for them alone,” explained Button. “You wouldn’t build all these larger homes and stick mini homes in between it. It doesn’t hold any value for the mini homes. It doesn’t hold value for the home beside it. That’s why municipalities and cities build them that way, because they hold that much more value. It’s done neatly and it’s done nicely.”
The plots of available land, which tend to cost more than the $30,500 offered to individuals for the plots of land they lost during Fiona, aren’t going to cost families who have been displaced any extra.
“If you’re taking your package, accepting that, and not going to be availing of a piece of land in Port aux Basques, you’re buying a home, your package will go as presented. You’ll get the $30,500 (plus value of home and contents) and then you’re done. If someone wants to rebuild and wants to buy a land lot, the $30,500 comes off the package and the province buys the land lot off of us, which is generally a little more than that $30,500. So it won’t cost the resident more, but it may cost the province an additional amount.”
The plan is to get more land lots ready as quickly as possible so that families not picked in this first lottery won't have to wait too long.
“We are trying now to get the new pieces of the subdivision done and move that forward. It’s a process, but I think it’s a fair process. People will have the option to take the value of the land or have the province buy a piece of land for you, one or the other.”
Jaymie White, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wreckhouse Weekly News