The frustrations and concerns over the proposed changes to the provincial electoral boundaries continue to echo in the Trinity Conception region.
A meeting with a dozen residents of the Hant’s Harbour area last night demonstrated just that.
Trinity-Bay de Verde MHA Steve Crocker held an open forum at the town’s Lions Club to allow residents to ask questions and learn more about what the boundary changes would mean.
On a geographical scale, the area won’t be drastically affected, since it will still sit in the middle of the proposed Trinity-Carbonear district. That new district would encompass from Heart’s Delight-Islington in the west to Bay de Verde in the east, then south to Bristol’s Hope.
But the concern brought up by all those in attendance was the idea of being joined with the Town of Carbonear.
Crocker confirmed that some 30 per cent of the population of the proposed district would be in Carbonear.
Several mentioned the variety of issues that urban centres like Carbonear have that they don’t, and vice versa. This was a concern to a former mayor of the town.
“We’re struggling now as it is,” LeeAnn Bown told the group. “I think when people are struggling and they pour more water into the pool, I wonder are we just going to totally drown...”
Crocker confirmed there are some big challenges facing communities like Hant’s Harbour, including an aging population, and said that Carbonear was a “service hub” of the region.
“The very fabric of who we are, we’re losing very quickly,” said Bown.
Resident Blair Janes had an idea on how the government could receive more money, without changing any of the districts.
He said the money saved from eliminating eight districts — some $2 million — is nothing compared to what they could be taking in if smaller communities on the North Shore, Trinity South and the rest of the province decided to incorporate into municipalities.
“Everyone is not paying their fair share,” he explained.
At the end of the meeting, the group confirmed they are not in favour of the changes, especially if it means their area could get overlooked for future growth.
Bown said with the aging population, if a retirement home were to find its way to the region, they should have equal opportunity to have it in a more rural area. But she fears that Carbonear would automatically get it because it is the largest municipality.
“Even before we start, have we lost?” Bown said.
There will be a meeting of the Newfoundland and Labrador Electoral Boundaries Commission board in Whitbourne Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the St. John the Baptist Anglican Social Centre.
Those wishing to voice their concerns to the commission are asked to do so by May 8 through email at email@example.com, a comment form at www.nledbc.ca/contact or fax 1-709-729-2724. To submit a recorded submission, call 1-844-411-7410.
A Skype session will also take place on May 2 from 10 a.m. until noon.