Island's Electoral Boundaries Commission releases new districts

The Island’s Electoral Boundaries Commission has released their recommendations for new electoral districts in the province Tuesday.

Goal was to create greater population parity among districts

Island's Electoral Boundaries Commission released the province's new electoral boundaries. (Sally Pitt/CBC)

The Island's Electoral Boundaries Commission has released their recommendations for new electoral districts in the province Tuesday.

The overall result of the proposed changes would see more urban districts, expansion of rural districts and closer population parity between districts.

A map of the new electoral districts on the Island. (P.E.I. Electoral Boundaries Commission)

Some districts, Like Souris-Elmira and Belfast-Murray River in the east of the Island, will be significantly enlarged to take in more voters. Other districts, like the former York-Oyster Bed to be renamed Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park, will shrink to achieve greater parity.

Approximately 3,700 electors per district

In the report, the commission said they wanted to achieve district populations of approximately 3,700 electors. Also, there wouldn't be a district with a population above or below 25 per cent of the average.

Many districts saw significant changes in their populations. Stratford-Kinlock had a population of 5317 electors. The new district Stratford-Keppoch will now have a population of 3593, a decrease of 1724.

On the opposite side, the district of Charlottetown-Victoria Park had a population of 2943 electors. It will now have a population of 4019, an increase of 1076.

Overall the average district went from having a population variance of 13.8 per cent to only 5.8 per cent under the new districts.

Evangeline-Miscouche the exception

The only district that managed to largely buck the trend was Evangeline-Miscouche, whose population increased from 2653 to 2925 electors, a gain of 272. The district however, is still 775 electors below the average, the greatest variance from the average. 

This district is an anomaly due to cultural reasons. The district has a large Francophone population and the establishment of the district in the last boundary review was seen as a way to protect Acadian culture on the Island.

While the commission has only technically released a recommendation, it is binding on the legislative assembly. The new districts will first be contested in the 66th P.E.I. general election, scheduled for 2019.

With files from Steve Bruce