North Brandon joins provincial constituency of Spruce Woods

A year-long study of Manitoba’s electoral divisions has resulted in adjustments to 56 of the province’s 57 ridings, including all three constituencies representing residents living in Brandon and outlying areas.

Brandon residents living north of the Assiniboine River will be joining a new provincial constituency next election following the release of a review of electoral boundaries this week.

The Manitoba Electoral Divisions Boundaries Commission (MEDBC), which conducts reviews of constituency boundaries every 10 years, has made changes to 56 of Manitoba’s 57 electoral divisions following a year-long study of the issue. The commission’s final report was released to the public on Monday. Under the Electoral Divisions Act, the new boundaries will take effect the next provincial election in Oct. 2020. Any by-elections called before then will use the constituencies established in 2008.

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Due to population growth within Brandon, the rural riding of Spruce Woods – represented by MLA Cliff Cullen – will cover the northern-most portion of the city above the Assiniobine River. This change will see the north ends of both Brandon East and Brandon West cut to portions of Brando south of the Assiniboine River.

Reg Helwer is the MLA for Brandon West, while Len Isleifson is MLA for Brandon East.

“Brandon East and Brandon West are now divided by 18th Street and areas north of the Assiniboine River are part of the Spruce Woods electoral division,” the MEDBC’s final report states. “This change recognizes current populations and allows for continued projected growth.”

Elsewhere in Western Manitoba, a drop in populations within the Swan River, Dauphin and Riding Mountain areas led the commission to change boundaries to these divisions, alongside Arthur-Virden, which has been renamed Turtle Mountain.

“To respect travel patterns and communities of interest, Turtle Mountain includes municipalities east of Killarney,” said the report.

Established in January 2018, the MEDBC released an interim report in May before collecting public input through email, fax and mail over the next eight months. The commission also hosted 13 public meetings on the topic throughout the province in September.

The final report was presented to Lieutenant Governor Janice Filmon and the Speaker of the Manitoba’s Legislative Assembly on Friday.

In the north, the MEDBC extended the riding of Flin Flon from south of Cranberry Portage to Manitoba’s northern border with Nunavut. This includes an area that moves east to include Norway House and Cross Lake, and south to the northern shore of Lake Winnipeg.

The Thompson constituency will include Churchill, Gillam and Nelson House, while The Pas-Kameesak will cover a new riding going from Cormorant and Wanless south through the Interlake area to Peguis and Fisher River.

The report stated that these and other changes to northern Manitoba electoral boundaries “will now essentially encompass most of the Crown lands of Manitoba or, put another way, the lands that have not been surveyed into townships.”

A total of 14 ridings have received new names under the MEDBC’s suggestion. Portage la Prairie is the lone electoral division that did not see any adjustments to its boundary.

– With notes from Eric Westhaver, Flin Flon Reminder.

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