Chang­ing bound­aries

Elec­toral com­mis­sion re­lease fi­nal out­line for dis­tricts


When the fi­nal pro­posed elec­toral bound­aries for the prov­ince were re­vealed last week, some may­ors and lo­cal ser­vice dis­tricts chairs in the cur­rent Trinity-Bay de Verde and Car­bon­ear-Har­bour Grace dis­tricts had op­pos­ing re­ac­tions.

White­way Mayor Craig Whe­lan was happy with the pro­posed changes, while his Car­bon­ear coun­ter­part Ge­orge Butt Jr. was not im­pressed. Jen­nifer Hil­lier, chair of the Green’s Har­bour lo­cal ser­vice dis­trict com­mit­tee was also not happy with the new lay­out.

“I’m very pleased,” Whe­lan told The Compass. “I’ve been keep­ing an eye out… And they came out with a new map, ba­si­cally show­ing that the bound­ary of White- way would be in the new dis­trict.”

The pro­posed dis­trict of Trinity-Bay de Verde would en­com­pass from White­way, north to Bay de Verde and south to Bris­tol’s Hope.

Green’s Har­bour would be the start­ing point for Pla­cen­tia-St. Mary’s. On the south­ern edge of the new pro­posed dis­trict is its most pop­u­lous mu­nic­i­pal­ity, Car­bon­ear.

Mayor Butt was not as quick to sup­port the changes.

“I don’t like them at all,” he ex­plained. “I think the dis­trict is too big for one per­son.”

He be­lieves that the in­ten­tion for the gov­ern­ment to save some $2 mil­lion cut­ting 48 seats to 40 will not work, be­cause there will be a higher need to spend for travel and sup­port staff.

“They’ll save did­dly-squat,” he told The Compass.

Hil­lier has been a strong voice in her com­mu­nity en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to speak out about what they wanted to see with the bound­ary changes. She be­lieves her pleas fell on deaf ears.

“I tried to spread the word to the res­i­dents to un­der­stand what was hap­pen­ing,” she said. “I am so up­set with the re­sults. In my opin­ion, we no longer have a voice. We are at the end of the line and there’s no way we can com­pete with the pop­u­la­tion (in Pla­cen­tia-St. Mary’s).”

Although sev­eral peo­ple spoke at a public fo­rum in Whit­bourne held by the com­mis­sion re­spon­si­ble for the changes about how Cavendish, White­way, Green’s Har­bour and Ho­peall would be bet­ter suited to­gether in the Trinity-Bay de Verde dis­trict, that did not hap­pen.

What’s next

Butt wants to see the bound­aries stay the same, so a more in­clu­sive re­port can be done once the cen­sus is com­pleted next year.

“If I were a part of this process, I’d vote against it,” he said

Hil­lier would also like to see the bound­aries stay the same, so her com­mu­nity would stay with Trinity-Bay de Verde.

Whe­lan, on the other hand, said he wouldn’t mind ei­ther way.

“I was a lit­tle bit dis­ap­pointed that they never took in Green’s Har­bour and Ho­peall. But, my main man­date is to look out for the town here,” he ex­plained.

If the changes do take place, two Lib­eral MHAs, Sam Slade and Steve Crocker, will face­off for the new dis­trict, which is ten­ta­tively also be­ing called Trinity-Bay de Verde.

“There’s noth­ing like hav­ing an MHA from your own town. We were for­tu­nate with that for both par­ties — Sam and Jerome,” Butt ex­plained.

Whe­lan just hopes the larger mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, like Car­bon­ear and Vic­to­ria, which to­gether have ap­prox­i­mately 6,100 res­i­dents, won’t get the largest bulk of pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

Mean­while, since Crocker was elected in Novem­ber last year, Whe­lan said he’s been ap­proached to run for the PC nom­i­na­tion in the new dis­trict. But his fam­ily and work com­mit­ments are not al­low­ing that at this point in time.

“I’m go­ing to try and keep my pri­or­i­ties where they have to go,” he said. “I’m not say­ing I’m never go­ing to run. In the fu­ture that could hap­pen. Right now I have no in­ten­tions of do­ing so.

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