Nfld. & Labrador

Justice Robert Stack 'more confident' new boundaries can be done in time

The head of the Newfoundland and Labrador Electoral Boundaries Commission says he's more confident new boundaries will be drawn in time for a 2015 election, now that work is underway.
Justice Robert Stack says he's more confident the new electoral boundaries will be drawn in time for the 2015 election, now that work is underway. (CBC)

Justice Robert Stack, head of the Newfoundland and Labrador Electoral Boundaries Commission, says he's more confident new boundaries will be drawn in time for a 2015 election, now that work is underway.

The commissioners are working with a cartographer and someone from the provincial statistics branch to ensure any changes meet the requirements set out in the legislation, and have consistent populations across the districts.

The commission will have to redraw the electoral map to cut the number of districts from 48 to 40.

In January, members of the House of Assembly passed a bill to cut the number of seats in the legislatures by eight, after Premier Paul Davis proposed cutting the seats to 38.

Stack says the commission is aiming to have new proposed boundaries out to the public by April 11, including a newspaper insert outlining the changes.

Public hearings will start 10 days after that is completed.

Stack said the commission is still figuring out where to hold hearings, adding the commissioners want to hold as many hearings as possible in person but are exploring other options, including holding some by teleconference.

The commission will also take submissions by phone or on its website.

With the deadline for the final report on the new boundaries set for June 9, the timeline may limit how many public sessions the commission will be able to hold.

The new boundaries will be in place for the upcoming provincial election this fall.

If the commission can't meet the June 9 deadline, the existing 48 districts will be used.

Government estimates cutting the number of MHAs will save about $2 million a year.

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