Rocky mayor fears town will lose its voice in federal election boundary change

The Mayor of Rocky Mountain House says the town may lose its voice under the proposed federal boundaries map.

The Mayor of Rocky Mountain House says the town may lose its voice under the proposed federal boundaries map.

Mayor Fred Nash says Rocky town council members are not pleased with the proposed federal electoral boundary changes that would shift Rocky, Caroline and Leslieville from the Wetaskiwin riding to the Yellowhead riding.

Every 10 years, the country’s electoral districts and boundaries are revised to reflect population shifts and growth.

The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission released its map proposals this week.

In 2004, Rocky moved from the Red Deer district to Wetaskiwin riding.

The new Yellowhead riding would expand further west and south, encompassing much of Clearwater County. The proposed district would run south of Peace River, along the western boundary of British Columbia, south to the North Saskatchewan River, and east of Woodlands County.

“We feel we won’t have an equal voice but that remains to be seen,” said Nash.

Nash said everything in the town — from culture, sports, fine arts to economics — is tied to the east and west.

“We have always been connected to the Hwy 2 corridor,” said Nash. “Now we’re getting pushed to the north. We’re at the very south end of the new Yellowhead proposed riding.”

Nash said the town is well represented by the current Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins, who has made an exceptional effort to be involved in their community, which is on the far end of the riding.

He said town council is concerned about having an MP who may come from as far away as Edson or Grande Cache.

“We’ve always had natural boundaries in the history of Alberta. Hwy 11 is one and Hwy 16 is another,” he said. “If we have an MP representing us from Grande Cache, that’s six hours away.”

Nash said the town will make a presentation at the public hearings on proposed boundary changes in September.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com