Following the resignation of Swan Hills Trustee Nancy Keough, Pembina Hills began the process of completing a complete ward review. Between January 15th and Feb 10th, 2020, PHSD presented three options to communities through their local Parent Councils. Option 1 saw no change to current ward structures; Options 2 and 3 saw the reduction of 1 elected trustee and specific ward boundries beging redrawn. After hearing the majority (62.3%) of respondants choosing option 1 (to leave Pembina Hills with 3 wards - Barrhead, Swan Hills and Westlock as well as 7 trustees); Pembina Hills Trustees presented a fourth option. The new option would see the reduction of Trustees to 6 and changed electorial wards to 6. The new option ex-panded the current Swan Hills ward to include Fort Assinboine
At the August 26th meeting of the Pembina Hills School Board, a majority of trustees voted in favour of changing the electoral wards going forward. These changes to the ward structure will come into effect for the October 2021 school trustee elections.
The new electoral wards are:
Trustees discussed the concerns brought forth by the delegation led by Mayor Craig Wilson at the previous meeting. Trustee Kerry McElroy voiced his concern over the possibility that Swan Hills wouldn’t have representation on the board. Chair Jennifer Tuininga reminded the board that Swan Hills could have a representative if they had someone run in their ward in the next election and emphasized that each of the trustees are brought together to make informed decisions in the best interest of Pembina Hills School Division as a whole.
Five of the six trustees voted in favor of the motion.
Carol Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette