By Cole Parkinson
Municipal District of Taber division boundaries have continued to draw council’s interest as they bat back and forth the idea of changing things up.
While discussions have occurred, no firm decisions have been made on how they want to proceed and it was back in front of councillors during their policy meeting on June 17.
In the 2016 Municipal Census, the M.D. population was 7,173 with Grassy Lake at 815, Hays at 163, Enchant at 259, Johnson’s Addition at 130 and Purple Springs at 44.
Current population data shows Division 1 at 1,144, Division 2 at 1,189, Division 3 at 1,502, Division 4 at 930, Division 5 at 674, Division 6 at 889 and Division 7 at 845.
“When I looked at it if we are going to do rep by number, which terrifies me because otherwise maybe in Alberta we had hardly have any MPs or anything. I’m not sure if that is the route we want to go, it is pretty risky. We have heard before that to divide the river has been a natural divide. Maybe it would be good to not have it but I also don’t want to take that away from people. So to change numbers, I feel it is treacherous ground if that is what we want to look at,” said Deputy Reeve Tamara Miyanaga.
The previous change brought forward by Bryce Surina, director of GIS and IT, had populations per division at 1,144 for Division 1, 1,149 for Division 2, 1,072 for Division 3, 1,277 for Division 4, 830 for Division 5, 850 for Division 6 and 851 for Division 7.
“Could we form a committee to bring ideas back?” asked Coun. Jen Crowson. “ I think it would be good to look at it and some different scenarios.”
Council was receptive to this idea moving forward.
“If there is a group of two or three that want to look at some different proposals,” said Reeve Merrill Harris.
With the idea of council taking control of setting the parameters of the boundary changes, council liked the idea of giving more direction to staff.
“I don’t think it is fair to keep throwing it back at Bryce. I think we need to have some more direction for him,” said Coun. Brian Brewin.
With a committee, several things will need to be sorted out before being brought back to council.
The biggest of which will be how they will re-draft how the divisions will be split.
“I guess the more important part is what are we basing the divisions on? If we go numbers, then we go with numbers. Whatever you are basing the divisions on has to be done equally, it doesn’t matter what side of the river you are on. That is the important part, set the criteria and then come up with scenarios. Are we basing it on area or population?” added Coun. John Turcato.
“I know if you base it on area, that Retlaw country is a lot of country but not many bodies,” stated Harris.
Much of the area in the north divisions would fall under the same set of circumstances.
“My area is lots and lots of land,” added Crowson.
“We could look at miles of road also,” said Brewin.
A motion was made to recommend to council to strike a committee to review boundaries consisting of Councillors Brewin, Crowson and Reeve Harris, and was carried unanimously.