The independent Electoral Boundaries Commission submitted its revised interim report to the Minister of Justice on Friday and there’s no mention of changes to Colchester North.
“I think we recognized from the beginning that the proposed changes really didn’t reflect the community’s interest and that of the folks along the shore,” said Karen Casey, the (Liberal) MLA for the area.
“I took it upon myself as the MLA to make sure my constituents’ concerns were shared with the commission and I felt, and now I know, that they were well received and respected, and that the reasons I gave were valid.
“It’s a win-win situation for both the commission and the constituents of Colchester North.”
The Electoral Boundaries Commission’s original report, which was released at the beginning of June, proposed the creation of a new riding – Cumberland Fundy Shore.
The new riding would accommodate approximately 1,000 residents between the Five Houses Road and the Colchester/Cumberland line in Five Islands
This was part of a provincial restructuring aimed at realigning ridings whose populations fall outside a 25 per cent variance in the provincial average.
Under that scenario, the MLA from Cumberland County would serve residents in Five Houses, Economy, Bass River and Five Islands.
Casey had scheduled a public meeting to discuss the changes, however the meeting was postponed.
“I was very optimistic and thought it would be needless if in fact my initial submission (to the commission) was going to be honoured.
“I believe the rights of the citizens and the constituents of Colchester North have been respected and they will receive fair representation with their MLA in Colchester North,” she said.
Following a letter from Justice Minister Ross Landry that stated he couldn’t accept the interim report because the terms of reference were mandatory, not a matter of guidance, the commission had to prepare a revised interim report to fully comply with the terms of reference.
The commission proposes that:
-- there should be 51 members in the House of Assembly
-- three constituencies be eliminated, one in Cape Breton, one in Northeast Nova Scotia and one in Southwest Nova Scotia
-- two new constituencies (Fairview-Clayton Park and Sackville-Beaver Bank) be added to the Halifax area.
Boundary adjustments in the remaining constituencies were guided by the goal of relative voter parity to the greatest extent possible.
In relation to the protected constituencies, the commission proposes:
-- Preston be expanded to include areas from the constituencies of Cole Harbour and Dartmouth East and to be renamed Dartmouth-Preston.
-- Richmond be expanded to include parts of Cape Breton West and the Town of Port Hawkesbury and to be renamed Cape Breton-Southwest.
-- Clare and Argyle be merged with the adjacent constituency of Yarmouth. The proposed constituency of Yarmouth-Argyle would contain the Town of Yarmouth and the District of Argyle. The proposed constituency of Clare-Yarmouth would contain the remaining area of Yarmouth District and the District of Clare.
The second round of public meetings will begin on Aug. 7 in Port Hawkesbury. A final report is expected to be delivered to government by Aug. 31.
The revised interim report and the complete list of the second round of public meetings can be found at nselectoralboundaries.ca.