Four electoral areas slated for Columbia-Kootenay region

People seem happy with the status quo when it comes to the Kootenay East riding boundary

People seem happy with the status quo when it comes to the Kootenay East riding boundary.

The B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission heard only a couple presentations on Tuesday (October 7th) night at St. Eugene, with residents seemingly content with the current size and scope of the riding.

The commission, chaired by Justice Tom Melnick, is currently touring throughout the province to meet with British Columbians and assess any concerns with riding boundaries.

Once the commission finishes touring every riding in B.C., it will submit a preliminary report to the legislature in May.

“So what we’ve heard a number of people say is they’re pleased that the legislation has created protected areas,” said Keith Archer, one of the commissioners. “Some have come and said to us that ‘We don’t want you to reduce the number of electoral districts in this area.’

“So part of the process is to make sure they understand the terms of reference of our group and the fact that the government has already passed legislation ensuring there are going to be four electoral districts in this region.”

Having started in the northern part of the province, the commission has heard feedback regarding challenges of effective representation in large geographic ridings.

“We hear from a lot of people, they sense the huge geography of this province and how difficult it is for MLAs, but on the other side of the coin, people who want to access their MLAs, to get together and discuss concerns,” said Beverley Busson, another commissioner. “We’re alive to that issue as well.”

The Columbia-Kootenay region is mandated to have four electoral areas, which consist of the Kootenay East and West ridings, Columbia River-Revelstoke and Nelson-Creston.

There were four presenters to the commission, each voicing concerns mainly in support of the status quo. Doug Clovechok spoke regarding the Columbia River-Revelstoke boundary, while Sharon Cross, Gary Werk and Jenny Byford added their thoughts to the Kootenay East boundary.

“I would say if there’s one comment that has been the prevalent comment throughout the areas that we’ve visited is that people are pretty satisfied with the configuration of their electoral districts as they exist at the moment,” said Archer. “A lot of our conversations have been tweaking areas rather than wholesale change.”

An example would be Byford’s concern that residents in Bull River are sending kids to school in Cranbrook—under the jurisdiction of Kootenay East— while residents are voting for provincial representation in the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding.

Others, such as Werk, advocated keeping the status quo, while Cross voiced her concerns against any amendments that would take away local rural representation in Victoria.

“The other interesting thing that we’ve heard a number of people say is we understand the boundaries commission can recommend two additional electoral districts,” said Archer. “Many people seem to support that idea and they also support the idea of those electoral districts being in the areas of greatest population growth.”

Kootenay East has grown 2,134 to a population of 39,852 since the last redistricting in 2008.

When designing boundaries, from a population standpoint, the electoral quotient is 54,369. However, geography and travel times factor into the limits of the riding boundaries as well.

 

 

Contributed by Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Townsman

Just Posted

Local skicross racers hit the World Cup circuit

Olympian India Sherret is joined by fellow local racers Zoe Chore and Courtney Hoffos

UPDATED: Hwy 93 reopens after rockslide blocks traffic in Fairmont Hot Springs

Highway at Fairmont between Dutch Creek and Westside Road blocked until geotechnical team can assess

Rob Morrison sworn in as Kootenay-Columbia MP

Parliament set to reconvene on Thursday with election of House Speaker, Throne Speech

Break-and-enter at Family Pantry in Canal Flats

Weekly RCMP report, November 24-December 1

B.C. seaplane company set to test the first commercial electronic plane

The plane is powered by a 750 horsepower electric motor

Meng Wanzhou wins right to more documents involving arrest at Vancouver airport

Defence lawyers allege the Huawei executive was unlawfully detained, searched and interrogated

Truck with body inside found at bottom of lake near Kootenay ferry

Investigators believe no foul play is expected but are unsure how the vehicle ended up in the Arrow Lakes

VIDEO: Calgary man narrowly escapes from avalanche while running at Lake Louise

Bryon Howard caught the entire wild experience on camera

PHOTOS: Competitive Christmas light display takes sarcastic turn in Princeton

Heather King of Princeton took a creative and stress-free approach to her holiday display this year

RCMP asks Kootenay cannabis shop to remove image of famous Mountie from storefront

Owner happy to comply with RCMP, but wants more information first

BC Ferries adds 170 extra sailings for the holidays

6 a.m. and 10 p.m. sailings added for busy season

Anti-money laundering agency warns casinos to watch gamers playing with bank drafts

Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, known as Fintrac, issues operational alert

Most Read