St. Albert ridings redrawn to include Morinville

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The final report from the provincial Electoral Boundaries Commission has realigned the boundaries of the St. Albert constituencies.

The final report was distributed on Oct. 19 and altered the St. Albert constituencies since the release of the interim report.

St. Albert will continue to be served by two MLAs. The city will be divided along Boudreau Road and northern portion of St. Albert Trail to become the riding of Morinville-St. Albert.

The interim report proposed the northern portion of St. Albert become part of St. Albert-Redwater riding that extended north east out to Smokey Lake. After collecting feedback on the report the commission decided to join a portion of St. Albert with Morinville to create the Morinville-St. Albert riding.

“This change responds to numerous public submissions suggesting that the culture and residents of Morinville are more akin to those of St. Albert, enjoying the same francophone roots, than they are to the residents of Spruce Grove. It would end the much-criticized design of the blended constituency of Spruce Grove-St. Albert,” the report said.

The St. Albert riding would be home to 47,745 people, which is two per cent above the provincial average. The remaining 17,844 St. Albert residents who live in Erin Ridge North, Erin Ridge, Oakmont, Woodlands, Kingswood and Pineview will join with Morinville and a portion of Sturgeon County to create the Morinville- St. Albert riding. This constituency will be home to 50,225 people and will be seven per cent above the provincial average population size.

The communities of Bon Accord, Gibbons, Redwater and Legal will be included in the Morinville-St. Albert riding.

Barrhead and Westlock will stay together but extend north and east to pick up Athabasca and Smokey Lake.

Spruce Grove and Stony Plain will come together to form one riding.

St. Albert MLA Marie Renaud said that overall she likes the new boundaries and was hoping to see St. Albert join with Morinville and the rest of the communities in Sturgeon County.

“I was actually pleasantly surprised when I saw this,” Renaud said.

Spruce Grove-St. Albert MLA Trevor Horne said that the new boundaries make sense for the communities. Horne said that Morinville and St. Albert are a good natural fit and Spruce Grove and Stony Plain are also a good duo.

The big challenge for the MLAs now will be deciding who will run in the reshuffled ridings. Horne, who is from St. Albert, has had his riding divided into three new constituencies which overlap with Renaud and Erin Babcock from the NDP.

The new riding of Athabasca-Barrhead is now home to two incumbent MLAs. Glenn van Dijken from the UCP party lives on a farm in the area and NDP MLA Colin Piquette lives in Boyle.

The MLAs said that they would get together and decide who would run in what riding but they haven’t had those conversations yet.

The commission was tasked with redrawing the ridings across the province while still maintaining 87 seats. Across the province three rural ridings were moved in to urban centres to reflect the population growth in cities.

This is the final report by the commission, which started its review in Dec. 2016.

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Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2016. She writes about municipal, provincial and federal politics; court and crime; general news and features.