REGINA - A provincial commission has issued its final report on how three new constituencies should be added to Saskatchewan.
One seat is being added to Saskatoon for a total of 14 constituencies in that city and one to Regina for a total of 12. In each of those cities, one constituency is a hybrid mix of urban and adjacent rural areas.
One seat has also been added to rural Saskatchewan.
"Where practical, the commission has respected both rural and urban municipal boundaries. This has not been possible in all cases but the commission has attempted to reduce the fragmentation of municipal boundaries resulting from the existing constituencies," the report stated.
The commission said it made some changes to dividing lines between constituencies after an interim report in July and public feedback.
"The commission was able to accommodate many of those who made suggestions for change. However the changes do not substantially alter the fundamental nature of the constituencies as initially proposed," it said.
Some of the changes include adding the town of Osler to the Martensville constituency and adding the town of Dalmeny to the Biggar-Sask Valley constituency. The boundaries for Yorkton were extended to the north and south to take in the recent annexation of land by the City of Yorkton.
More than two-thirds of the current constituencies will keep their names without any changes.
Redrawing the boundaries brings the total number of constituencies — and politicians in the Saskatchewan legislature — to 61.
The commission was asked to redraw the map after Premier Brad Wall said last December that new constituencies are needed because the province's population is growing and some people have to travel too far to see their elected representative.
The government also changed the rules so that every constituency has roughly the same number of voters — meaning people under 18 won't be counted. But the Opposition NDP has said that's not smart because those between the ages of 10 and 18 will be voting over the next decade.
With the exception of Athabasca and Cumberland in the far north, constituencies will each have approximately 13,000 people ages 18 and older.
It will cost $225,000 per year for each new member of the legislature, but the government has said the change could be funded through savings on government communication and travel expenses, not through higher taxes.