Voters want to stay in city

Breaking up could be hard to do. Provincial Electoral Boundaries Commission members might well be advised to tread lightly when divorcing the southern stretches of Red Deer from the Red Deer South riding,

Breaking up could be hard to do.

Provincial Electoral Boundaries Commission members might well be advised to tread lightly when divorcing the southern stretches of Red Deer from the Red Deer South riding, if public opinions gleaned Friday afternoon from the front-yards of homes in the Anders, Inglewood and Lancaster neighbourhoods are any indication.

“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard.

“Is anybody for this?”

Such was the reaction of Inglewood resident Wendy Carew to news of the potential riding change, one of several under consideration to create four new ridings in the province.

The proposed constituency alterations are from the commission’s interim report, submitted to the legislature in February.

“It just doesn’t make sense to take a chunk of Red Deer and put it somewhere else,” said Carew.

She said she’s worried about how the voting dynamics of the area might change if the boundary movement takes place.

Atif Khan has lived in his street-corner duplex in Inglewood for almost three years.

He said the population of the area is very big and that he would be OK with the change, but would like to discuss it with the community first.

He has reservations about how much focus a possibly Innisfail-based MLA would have on the strip of the city included in his or her riding.

Others took a slightly different tack.

“It doesn’t bother me at all. I golf in Innisfail,” said Adam Reynolds, doing renovations in his backyard on Good Friday.

“It’s going to go one of two ways in the next election anyway. It’s going to be the Wildrose party or it’s going to be the Conservatives, like it always is in this area. So put the boundary where you want . . . Unless they ship some Liberals into Innisfail, I don’t think it will change too much.”

Graham Reed, a recent import into the city from the farm, spent the afternoon getting an early front-yard mow in, with a screwdriver used as an on-off switch.

He’s against the boundary move, saying the interests of the suburban neighbourhoods affected would be the same as those in the rest of the city.

The farmers in the proposed Red Deer-Innisfail riding might be equally concerned that their interests aren’t shared by city folk, said Kevin Kay, an Anders-area man working on his bicycle in his driveway on Friday.

“They probably wouldn’t appreciate it, either,” said Kay.

Joseph White, of the Lancaster neighbourhood, said he and his wife had been “Red Deer-ites” all their lives and that a provincial electoral boundary change wouldn’t be a good idea.

“Are they (the Red Deer-Innisfail MLA) going to come visit me? I don’t know. Mind you, I don’t know that Mary-Ann (Jablonski) ever came to my door, either.”

He said he wished the change was to federal electoral boundaries, as Western Canada needs more sway in Ottawa.

Electoral Boundaries Commission public hearings at Red Deer Lodge are scheduled for April 13 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and April 14 from 9 a.m. to noon, 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

mgauk@bprda.wpengine.com

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