Bound­ary pro­posal falls short: Lib­eral MHAs

Slade, Crocker might face off for pro­posed Trinity-Car­bon­ear dis­trict

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY MELISSA JENK­INS

For those ex­pect­ing a cock­fight be­tween two Lib­eral MHAs af­ter new dis­trict bound­ary pro­pos­als could com­bine their cov­er­age ar­eas, Sam Slade and Steve Crocker say it won’t hap­pen.

Slade, who is the rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Car­bon­ear-Har­bour Grace, could see his dis­trict split and re­dis­tributed into two other ex­ist­ing dis­tricts.

Har­bour Grace, Bryant’s Cove and parts of both Spa­niard’s Bay and Up­per Is­land Cove would be­come part of the Port de Grave dis­trict, served by PC MHA Glenn Lit­tle­john. Res­i­dents of Car­bon­ear, Vic­to­ria and Bris­tol’s Hope would find them­selves in the Trinity-Bay de Verde bound­ary. Crocker cur­rently rep­re­sents that re­gion.

Both men, who won by­elec­tions a year apart, have con­firmed they will seek a seat in the dis­trict where their home­towns lie. Slade is from Car­bon­ear, while Crocker is from Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton. This means, if the dis­tricts do change ac­cord­ing to the pro­posal put forth by the Elec­toral Bound­aries Com­mis­sion ear­lier this month, they will face off for the same Lib­eral nom­i­na­tion.

Slade and Crocker were a part of each other’s cam­paign, and they have spo­ken about their predica­ment.

“Steve and I get along well,” Slade told The Compass in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view last week.

Crocker agreed, not­ing he is aware some peo­ple are al­ready ex­pect­ing an ag­gres­sive ap­proach to earn­ing that nom­i­na­tion.

“I have spo­ken to Sam my­self, and I have noth­ing but the ut­most re­spect for him,” Crocker said.

“This is not about the MHAs,” Slade said. “It’s about the ser­vices you can pro­vide to the peo­ple.”

Crocker sang an iden­ti­cal tune.

“This process is not about MHAs or po­lit­i­cal par­ties,” he ex­plained. “It’s about how peo­ple can best be served by their elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives.”

Bound­ary con­fu­sion

One of the big­gest is­sues Slade has been hear­ing is dis­plea­sure from res­i­dents of Har­bour Grace that they will be shuf­fled out of the Car­bon­ear area.

“The peo­ple in my dis­trict, and cer­tainly the peo­ple in Har­bour Grace, are very dis­ap­pointed that this has come down the way it has,” Slade ex­plained.

Crocker agrees that it is odd that Har­bour Grace and Car­bon­ear are be­ing split up, see­ing they have a strong con­nec­tion through re­gional ser­vices, in- clud­ing fire de­part­ments work­ing to­gether, sports fa­cil­i­ties and schools.

Slade hopes lo­cals will voice their dis­plea­sure at the public con­sul­ta­tion be­ing held by tele­con­fer­ence at Fongs in Car­bon­ear April 23 at 2 p.m. — an ar­ran­age­ment he is not fond of.

“The peo­ple of our area have a right to be heard. They de­serve a public hear­ing with the Bound­aries Com­mis­sion in per­son, not speak­ing to a cam­era.

An up­roar rang out on Crocker’s Face­book wall the day the elec­toral bound­ary pro­pos­als were re­vealed. Four com­mu­ni­ties cur­rently in the Trinity-Bay de Verde dis­trict — White­way, Cavendish, Green’s Har­bour and Ho­peall — would move to the Pla­cen­tia-St. Mary’s dis­trict.

That’s the is­sue that seems to be preva­lent in Crocker’s dis­trict, so much so it prompted a meet­ing of the lead­ers of each sur­round­ing com­mu­nity with the MHA Thurs­day, April 16, to voice their dis­plea­sure.

“I’m hear­ing some con­cerns, but not too the ex­tent of what I am hear­ing from the ex­cluded area. Peo­ple are con­cerned with the split,” Crocker said.

A public meet­ing will take place at the White­way Com­mu­nity Cen­tre on Thurs­day, April 23, at 7:30 p.m. That comes al­most a week be­fore the public con­sul­ta­tion event in Whit­bourne at the St. John the Bap­tist Angli­can So­cial Cen­tre with the bound­ary com­mis­sion. The meet­ing, which be­gins at 3 p.m., will be an in-per­son meet­ing,

un­like the one in Car­bon­ear.

Based on pop­u­la­tion

Com­mis­sion chair Jus­tice Robert Stack re­vealed dur­ing a we­b­cast last week that the de­ci­sion on the pro­posed bound­aries came to light based on nu­mer­ous cri­te­ria, but were pri­mar­ily in­flu­enced by pop­u­la­tion. The en­tire we­b­cast can be viewed at www.nledbc.ca.

Each re­gion is ex­pected to have some 13,550 res­i­dents, give or take 10 per cent. The com­mis­sion also said they tried to keep peo­ple to­gether through sim­i­lar ge­o­graph­i­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

The com­mis­sion is us­ing the cen­sus from 2011 to de­ter­mine cur­rent pop­u­la­tions. An­other cen­sus is sched­uled for 2016, and Slade be­lieves the changes should wait un­til those num­bers come out.

“We’re af­ter experiencing a pop­u­la­tion shift,” he said. “If they wait un­til 2016, then, they’ll be deal­ing with ac­cu­rate num­bers.”

If the bound­aries can’t be determined and ap­proved be­fore the house closes for the sum­mer in mid-June, the cur­rent dis­tricts will stand for the fall elec­tion.

Trinity-Bay de Verde MHA Steve Crocker

Car­bon­earHar­bour Grace MHA Sam Slade

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