FREDERICTON (GNB) – A proposed new electoral map redraws the boundaries of the province’s 49 electoral districts while providing effective representation for all residents, according to the co-chairs of the Electoral Boundaries and Representation Commission.

The commission, an independent group selected by the all-party legislative administration committee, released its preliminary report today.

“Our recommendations for boundary changes are based on the guiding principles set out in the commission’s mandate, including the electoral quotient, communities of interest, and effective representation of the province’s two linguistic communities,” said commission co-chair Camille Thériault. “We were able to stay within the allowed variance in all but one electoral district as we created a new electoral map for New Brunswick that maintains balanced representation for all regions.”

The commission is mandated to maintain the current number of 49 ridings, adjusting the boundaries as required to come as close as possible to having 11,667 voters in each riding.

The commission now has 90 days to prepare its final report. Recommendations from the preliminary report will be open to review as the commission holds a second round of virtual public hearings next month.

“We invite residents to share their views on the changes we have proposed when we do our next round of consultations,” said commission co-chair Roger Clinch. “We encourage those who do bring forward ideas to do so while considering the potential impact it may have on neighbouring electoral districts.”

The preliminary report is available on the commission’s website.

The commission’s second round of public hearings will take place Jan. 11-14. These will be divided by groupings of electoral districts, with two additional sessions open to anyone provincewide. Individuals or organizations wishing to make a formal presentation must contact the commission at [email protected] or call toll-free at 1-833-938-1600 to book a date and time.

Wednesday, Jan. 11 – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Northern (Electoral Districts 1-8)

Wednesday, Jan. 11 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Miramichi (Electoral Districts 9-11)

Thursday, Jan. 12 – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Provincial (open to all electoral districts)

Thursday, Jan. 12 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Southeastern (Electoral Districts 12-24)

Friday, Jan. 13 – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Southern (Electoral Districts 25-36)

Friday, Jan. 13 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Capital (Electoral Districts 37-44)

Saturday, Jan. 14 – 10 a.m. to noon – Upper River Valley (Electoral Districts 45-49)       

Saturday, Jan. 14 – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Provincial (open to all electoral districts)

People may also submit feedback on the recommendations by email, through the comment page on the commission’s website, or by mail: Electoral Boundaries and Representation Commission, 500 Beaverbrook Ct., Suite 200, P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton, N.B., E3B 5H1.

“We believe the various options being provided offer the greatest flexibility for people to share their feedback with us, while also allowing the commission to meet the tight timeline it faces in meeting its legislated timelines,” said Thériault.

The deadline for receiving feedback is Sunday, Jan. 15.