What will the elections look like in one of P.E.I.'s newest towns?
The newly formed town of Three Rivers will have 10 wards and a 13-person council
The voting boundaries have been set and preparations are well in hand for residents of the newly formed town of Three Rivers to elect its first council and mayor.
Interim Mayor Merrill Scott said the interim council has been hard at work making sure the elections will take place on Nov. 5.
"It's been two or three meetings every day," said Scott.
Scott, along with the interim CAO and the former CAOs of Montague and Georgetown, have been reviewing the town's election bylaw, which will undergo first and second reading this week in order to be in place by a deadline of Oct. 10.
Following that, a returning and deputy returning officer will be hired.
Scott said the provincial Department of Municipal Affairs drew up a map of 10 wards for the new town. Each will have between 400 and 450 people, with the exception of Montague, where the population reaches 1,900.
He said location was also considered, trying to follow the former boundaries as closely as possible.
"We're going to have ten wards throughout the community and that will elect 12 people plus a mayor," he said.
"There's one from each of the wards except Montague will have three, because their population is the larger of the whole district."
Anyone hoping to run in one of those wards must collect a minimum of five signatures of residents of that ward, though the potential candidate doesn't have to live there.
Nominations are open from Oct. 10–19, although Scott said candidates can submit immediately.
So far, Scott said only two people have expressed an interest in the mayor's office: Richard Collins, the former Montague mayor and Jim Bagnall, a former Montague councillor.
On election day, it may feel similar to a provincial election. Each ward will have one polling station and Montague will have one station with three polls there.
Scott said he's hopeful there will be a big turnout.
"When there's election for mayors … this brings out a lot of voters, so I think there'll be a lot of interest," he said. "I hope there will be anyway, because I'd like to see some middle-aged people, and younger people, especially when there's a large council forecast, that will give back to their respective communities."
For anyone in need of information or help, there will be a staff person at the community halls in Georgetown, Cardigan and Montague to answer questions.
The interim council will continue to manage the town's day-to-day operations until Dec. 6. Scott said he hopes the newly elected council will shadow them before taking the reins on Dec. 7, but that is yet to be determined.
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