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City to ask for change to proposed electoral boundaries

City council is happy with the proposal to have a local MLA that serves a fully urban Grande Prairie riding. That’s what the Alberta electoral boundaries commission came up with in their draft report, along moving some of the western part of the county into the new Central Peace-Notley riding.

Mayor Bill Given says that while they support having an urban MLA represent most of the city, they’d like the rest to be moved into the Grande Prairie-Smoky riding with communities west of the city like Wembley, Beaverlodge, Hythe and Horse Lake. He says it’s important to keep a strong tie to communities in the region.

“It was a very close vote last time council discussed this issue; I think council has had an opportunity to sort of see what that looks like on paper and the majority of council was able to support saying it makes more sense… to have them in the constituency that also contains a part of the city of Grande Prairie.”

In a motion passed Monday night, council suggests it would be better for communities like Alexander First Nation, Fox Creek, Valleyview, and Sturgeon Lake be included in Central Peace-Notley instead. The decision wasn’t unanimous, as councillors Jackie Clayton and Kevin McLean opposed.

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The County of Grande Prairie is also against the proposed changes. At her State of the County address at the end of June, Reeve Leanne Beaupre argued it they would make it more difficult for residents to have their concerns heard and addressed.

“Status quo has served us well since the last boundary renewal and I think the status quo would continue to serve the County of Grande Prairie and its ratepayers well.”

Representatives from both municipalities will be presenting their positions at an upcoming public hearing in front of the commission. The event will start at 1 p.m. on July 17th at the Sandman Hotel in Grande Prairie, and anyone with an opinion on the matter should register in advance.

A final report is expected by October.

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