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History: Bide Arm Resettlement


Bide Arm was the only new community created under the Resettlement Act in 1969. Residents from Hooping Harbour, Williamsport, Little Harbour Deep, Englee, and Fox Harbour relocated to the new community. It was difficult to provide services to small communities like Hooping Harbour; the community had gone three years at one point without a teacher.

Not all of the families wanted to resettle. Their home communities were close to rich fishing grounds and many families had never been to Bide Arm prior to the resettlement. They received a small amount of financial assistance to move everything they owned houses, stages, stores, everything except the wharves.

The Resettlement of Hooping Harbour

During the winter of 1968/69 the men of Hooping Harbour cut logs for the construction of two rafts to float the houses to Bide Arm. One raft measured 46 x 30 feet, contained 150 logs, 20 feet in length and held 144 drums. The houses were jacked up and put on a cradle, which was then bolted to the floor. They were pulled to the shoreline by the use of a tractor and manpower, and pushed on to the rafts. The first house was floated from Hooping Harbour to Bide Arm on June 20, 1969. It belonged to Ashton Cassell.

It took approximately 6-8 hours to tow a structure to Bide Arm. Once the boats arrived in Bide Arm with the structures in tow, a tractor met them at the shoreline and towed them on to the land and to their designated lot. The whole move lasted from June to September. Several residents of Bide Arm are currently living in the original houses that were floated from Hooping Harbour. Some of the stages and stores are still standing also.
“It was blowing hard when they took this one off the hill, and I looked out, and I was watching them towing it out the arm, and I said, “I’ll never see that no more, never see nothing that’s in that house no more.” …They got the house down, and I come down the next day … You’d hardly believe it. … Everything was perfect. I had all me stuff left in it.” – Winnie Randell, Bide Arm

“The water was just like the oil, and we haven’t had a summer like it since. Not a summer like it since. God had to be in that one. Just like the oil they say.” – Olive Hollett, Bide Arm

Information was collected in interviews with former residents of Hooping Harbour; Olive Hollett, Naaman & Shirley Randell, Wilfred & Emma Randell, Ellwood Randell, Winnie Randell & Dan & Beulah Randell.