Public hearings set for proposed changes to federal ridings
Voters have a chance to speak at upcoming public hearings about the proposed boundary changes for federal Alberta ridings.
Innisfail, Penhold and Bowden are all currently within the boundaries of the Red Deer riding, which comprises most of Red Deer County. The new boundaries proposed by the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Alberta divide Red Deer off at Highway 11 and add much of Mountain View County into the new riding of Red Deer-Mountain View.
This is the first draft of the boundaries and public input is being sought at hearings across the province in September. The closest hearings to Innisfail are in Red Deer at the Sheraton Hotel on Sept. 19, with one starting at 1:30 p.m. and the second at 7 p.m. Those hoping to make a presentation have until Aug. 10 to give notice.
The federal constituency ridings are being looked at as six new seats are being added to Alberta.
Innisfail Mayor Jim Romane said council has not discussed the proposed boundary changes yet and so has no comment.
Penhold Mayor Dennis Cooper took a look at the changes and expressed concerns about adding Olds and other southern communities into the riding.
“It’s not our normal trading area,” he said, noting it’s his understanding much of the business from Olds goes south to Calgary rather than north to the Red Deer area.
Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen said that the boundaries were drawn up based on population numbers but it’s now the public’s chance to comment.
“There’s going to be three different maps,” Dreeshen said of the process. This is the first one.
Dreeshen said there’s advantages to having an MP that has to represent rural and urban constituents because it’s an opportunity for the MP to have “ a much wider array of interests” and bring the issues of both together.
To check out the proposed boundaries or get more information on the public hearings, go online to www.redecoupage-federal-redistribution.ca.