Lo­cals want changes to bound­ary pro­pos­als

Car­bon­ear pre­sen­ters shut down com­mis­sion’s sug­ges­tions

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY MELISSA JENK­INS

With pro­posed dis­trict bound­ary changes mak­ing head­lines across the prov­ince over the past few weeks, it is no sur­prise dozens of peo­ple turned out for a public hear­ing last Thurs­day to share their thoughts on the pro­posed changes.

The com­mon dis­cus­sion in the con­fer­ence room at Fong’s Mo­tel and Restau­rant prior to the meet­ing fo­cused on dis­ap­point­ment over the pro­posed bound­aries pro­vided by the all male, five­mem­ber New­found­land and Labrador Elec­toral Dis­tricts Bound­aries Com­mis­sion.

Vic­to­ria Coun. Glenn Clarke was the first to ap­proach the mi­cro­phone. His dis­plea­sure with the Trinity-Car­bon­ear pro­posal, which will take in most of Trin­i­tyBay de Verde to Bris­tol’s Hope, and what he called “an attack on ru­ral New­found­land and Labrador.”

“I see MHA pit­ted against

Glenn Clarke

MHA, I see friend pit­ted against friend, neigh­bour against neigh­bour,” Clarke stated. “I see ab­so­lutely no con­sid­er­a­tion given for the peo­ple that it most af­fects.”

He sug­gested the com­mis­sion look at the past to help de­ter­mine the new bound­aries, us­ing the for­mer Car­bon­ear dis­trict as an ex­am­ple. That dis­trict en­com­passed the north shore of Con­cep­tion Bay to Car­bon­ear. Clarke would like to see Car­bon­earHar­bour Grace join with the north shore.

Gord Stone

Har­bour Grace Coun. Gord Stone was sec­ond to present, but noted if Har­bour Grace were to join the Port de Grave dis­trict as is out­lined in the pro­pos­als, Bris­tol’s Hope must come too. Har­bour Grace is re­spon­si­ble for many ser­vices pro­vided in the com­mu­nity.

So far, a main part of the de­ci­sion for bound­ary ex­e­cu­tion has been pop­u­la­tion, which was con­firmed by com­mis­sion chair Jus­tice Robert Stack. The pop­u­la­tion can de­vi­ate by 10 per cent of 13,550 peo­ple. Cof­fey told Stone adding 271 peo­ple form Bris­tol’s Hope to Port de Grave-Har­bour Grace would push it up to 11.5 per cent above the al­low­able pop­u­la­tion of a dis­trict.

“I re­al­ize that if you’re just go­ing to stick to num­bers, the pre­sen­ta­tions are not go­ing to make a whole lot of sense to the com­mis­sion,” Stone ex­plained. “We see the peo­ple as more sig­nif­i­cant as the num­bers.”

Car­bon­ear res­i­dent Al Stacey is a mem­ber of Com­mu­nity Link­ages, an or­ga­niza- tion that aims to pro­tect the ru­ral parts of New­found­land and Labrador.

One of Stacey’s ar­gu­ments about the changes is that there will con­tinue to be a “plethora” of MHAs in the greater St. John’s area be­cause the new bound­aries are pop­u­la­tion based. He be­lieves that a com­mu­nity may have in ex­cess of 14,000 res­i­dents and share the same is­sues and val­ues, and two MHAs to cover that same re­gion is not as use­ful as hav­ing an­other added to ru­ral New­found­land.

Clarke’s Beach Mayor Betty Moore, Makin­sons res­i­dent Ivy An­thony, Bay de Verde stu­dent Blake Pot­ter and Car­bon­earHar­bour Grace MHA Sam Slade also voiced their con­cerns.

Is­sues ranged from the im­por­tance of keep­ing com­mu­ni­ties to­gether to the re­moval of Bay de Verde from the of­fi­cial dis­trict name in Trinity-Car­bon­ear to the be­lief that some com­mu­ni­ties will not get equal rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

“Our town be­lieves we have been well rep­re­sented by the dis­trict of Port de Grave,” Moore said. South River, Clarke’s Beach and Makin­sons are pro­posed to move to the Har­bour Main dis­trict.

Slade preached the need to keep Car­bon­ear and Har­bour Grace to­gether based on shared in­ter­ests.

Other pre­sen­ters

Al Stacey

PHOTO BY MELISSA JENK­INS/THE COMPASS

Clarke’s Beach Mayor Betty Moore presents to the New­found­land and Labrador Elec­toral Districs Bound­aries Com­mis­sion at Fong’s Mo­tel and Restau­rant in Car­bon­ear on April 23.

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