A series of public hearings is on its way to Vancouver Island to provide residents with a voice on possible changes to B.C.’s electoral map.
The British Columbia Electoral Boundaries Commission is holding hearings in 29 communities throughout B.C. to hear views and receive presentations and submissions. Those findings will form part of a preliminary report which must be submitted to B.C.’s Legislature by May 9, 2015.
“Now is the time to have your say and shape your province,” said commission chair Justice Tom Melnick. “This democratic process is a unique opportunity for British Columbians to provide their views about how their communities are represented geographically in the Legislative Assembly.”
The commission has been given authority to create up to two new electoral districts that would be added to the current set of 85 provincial ridings.
“They will be looking at all sorts of things like population changes and communities of interest and geographical features and that sort of thing, to decide where boundaries should be drawn,” said Don Main, communications manager for the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission.
While many of the rural ridings in the north and B.C. Interior are protected, the commission will be looking at ridings in other areas that reflect a 25-per-cent deviation from the provincial norm.
The Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding — which stretches from Harewood Road in Nanaimo to Herd Road south of Crofton and east along the Chemainus River — has seen its population climb to 54,560 from 49,402 in 2008. That figure is close to the average for B.C.’s electoral districts of 54,369.
But population increases aren’t the only things that can prompt changes to the electoral map.
“Maybe there’s been enough development in an area that maybe it does cross an electoral district boundary and might identify more with another electoral district,” said Martin.
A meeting has been set for Thursday, Nov. 6 at the Coast Bastion Hotel in Nanaimo, beginning at 8:30 a.m. In Victoria, there will be a meeting at the Marriott, Victoria Inner Harbour Thursday, Nov. 6 at 3:30 p.m. as well as Friday, Nov. 7 at 8 a.m.
Views, submissions and presentations may also be made through an online form on the commission website (www.bc-ebc.ca), by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to PO Box 9275 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, BC, V8W 9J6. All submissions must be received by the commission by Nov. 16.