Bonnyville Town Council is not pleased with the proposed boundaries for the next provincial election.
The proposed map sees the Bonnyville-Cold Lake riding expanded to include Elk Point, Saddle Lake and the air weapons range. Other communities see very dramatic shifts, such as St. Paul sharing an MLA with Fort Saskatchewan and Lac La Biche with the southern half of Fort McMurray.
Mayor Gene Sobolewski says he wants to sit down with the leaders of other nearby communities to discuss the changes. “I’ve talked to some of them already and they’re not very happy about it,” he told council. He also added that the ridings are based on population. Thanks to the Municipal Census, the town now knows that Stats Canada recorded about a thousand fewer residents in the town in 2016 than they did.
Sobolewski worries the boundaries are a sign of rural Alberta being left in the dust. “We’re already seeing a major shift of priority projects to Edmonton and Calgary, look no further than the road projects. I’ve got a massive concern on that.”
Edmonton and Calgary’s metro areas make up about 55 percent of Alberta’s population.
There is time to change things though. The proposed map is only just that, proposed. Sobolewski guesses his town and surrounding communities have until October to lobby their case before the boundaries are set in stone.