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The Municipality of the County of Richmond is required to conduct a Governance and Boundary Review. Section 369(1) of the Municipal Government Act states that in 1999 and 2006, and every eighth year thereafter, all municipal councils in the province must conduct a study to assess the size of its Council and the boundaries of polling districts from which Councillors are to be elected.
Richmond County is currently divided into five electoral districts and residents are served by five elected representatives consisting of three Councillors, one Deputy Warden, and one Warden (see electoral boundary image below). Regular review of council size and electoral boundaries is required to assess the appropriateness of council representation and ensure balanced representation the distribution of population changes. Following the 2014 review of council size and boundary arrangements in Richmond County, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board reduced council size from ten to five. Richmond’s first five-member Council was elected in 2016 and the current Council was elected in 2020.
The current Richmond County Governance and Boundary Review is following a two-phase process prescribed by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB) in their Municipal Boundaries User Guide. The phases are:
Phase 1 – Number of Councillors in which the desired number of councillors (i.e., the size of council) should be determined
Phase 2 – Boundaries and Polling Districts in which the boundaries of the polling or electoral districts from which councillors will be elected must be determined.
In the first phase, Stantec will compare the size of Richmond County Council to other Nova Scotia municipalities, consult with current Council members, and consult the public through the online survey to which you can link below as well as through a public meeting to be held in St. Peter’s on August 9. Our objective will be to assess views concerning Richmond’s current council size and the desire to maintain it, decrease its membership further, or increase its membership.
When we have determined the council size or potential council sizes to take to the public for consideration, we will proceed to Phase 2. and another round of consultation. Our consultation process will feature a second survey in which we will present boundary options through maps and description as well as three public meetings distributed through Richmond County to maximize access for residents. Based on public feedback through the two consultation initiatives, and further discussion with Council members, we will determine the preferred council size and boundary arrangement to recommend to County Council. Council will vote to approve the recommendation, modify the recommendation, or develop an alternative recommendation.
The decision of Council will form the basis of an application to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB) for approval of the size of council and related electoral district boundaries. If the application is approved, it will fix the size of council and the boundaries of Richmond’s electoral districts for municipal election held over the next eight years.
We are committed to collaborating with the people and elected representatives of Richmond County throughout both phases of the study. We plan to conduct an open process that will promote dialogue toward addressing the critical issues of council size and boundary delineation. The study will propose and assess boundary scenarios designed to address criteria set out be the NSUARB, most notably the requirement for balanced representation referred to as voter parity and the integrity of local communities.
Have Your Say by Completing Our Survey
We invite you to participate in our online survey to help us determine public views on the number of representatives elected to Richmond County Council. Public input is critical to measure Council’s effectiveness and the perception of adequate representation. All responses are anonymous.
Before you respond to the survey, you may be interested in the following comparison of Richmond County Council to the councils serving other rural municipalities in Nova Scotia: