On Dec. 15, Kings County Council passed a motion to redraw electoral boundaries effectively reducing the number of electoral districts from eleven to eight. I am concerned what this decision will do to the Village of New Minas if approved by the NSUARB.
Kings County Coun. Jim Winsor. - File photo
The county engaged Stantec Consulting to conduct the electoral district review, which effectively placed the project in independent unbiased hands of professionals versed in this kind of work. The consultant considered options for 11, 10, nine and eight electoral districts and provided designs of these four options in accordance with review criteria of parity of voters, community of interest, natural divisions such as waterways, major highways, established boundaries and the like in his designs.
During the presentations of his report at three public meetings, the consultant also introduced another option originally identified as a staff option, subsequently as a deputy warden option and finally at the Dec. 15 council meeting as a deputy warden and the CAO option.
In his report to council on Dec. 15, the consultant recommended that council reduce the number of electoral districts from the current eleven to nine to be led by a mayor.
I am sorry to say, however, that council ignored the consultant’s recommendation on this critical matter. Instead council (the usual voting block) opted to approve the option for eight electoral districts in accordance with a CAO recommendation for eight electoral districts and the designs that was developed by him and the deputy warden.
While I consider this option and how it was arrived at to have tainted the electoral boundaries review, I am concerned that it violates generally accepted precepts of electoral districts design and particularly violates for New Minas, the “community of interest” principle.
It is obvious to all that New Minas has built its vision on being the “SHOPPING CENTER OF THE VALLEY” and this is portrayed on the welcoming signs at each end of the village. The design approved by council as developed by the CAO and the deputy warden actually splits the Village of New Minas north/south along Granite Drive. This design not only splits the community in two, it also splits a key business district, which is expected to grow with the development of the Granite Road Connector.
This design does not make any sense in the interest of the Village of New Minas and in the context of the “community of interest” principle. I am hopeful that common sense will prevail when the application to make these changes are considered by the NSUARB.
Councillor, District 11