The BC Electoral Boundaries Commission, created to ensure proper representation for British Columbians in the provincial election process, has released its preliminary report of recommendations on the province’s electoral districts. The report suggests the creation of six additional electoral districts, bringing the total number of seats in BC’s Legislature to 93 from the current 87. Along with the new ridings, the Commission also recommends adjustments to the boundaries of 71 existing electoral districts to account for a number of geographic and demographic factors.
The provincial riding of Fraser-Nicola, which includes the Nicola Valley and a number of rural communities in B.C’s Interior, is one of 71 ridings to have changes proposed by the Commission. If accepted, Fraser-Nicola would expand to include Harrison Hot Springs and the District of Kent in its southwest corner, and areas west of Kamloops, including Savona and Tobiano, to the northeast.
“British Columbia is a growing province,” said Justice Nitya Iyer, Chair of the Commission.
“The population has increased by nearly half a million people over the last five years. Our recommendation to increase the number of electoral districts in B.C. reflects that growth.”
The Commission’s preliminary report has been released, and all British Columbia residents are encouraged to read it and inform themselves on the proposed changes. The Commission will consider changes to its recommendations based on public input, so all are encouraged to provide their feedback. The final report will be released on April 3, 2023, at which point the Legislative Assembly will vote on accepting some, or all, of the Commission’s recommendations.
The Commission’s members are Chair Nitya Iyer, Justice of the Supreme Court of B.C, Linda Tynan, a Local Government Advisor, and Anton Boegman, B.C’s Chief Electoral Officer. All members were appointed on October 21, 2021, in accordance with laws designed to ensure proper representation for British Columbians.
“Since the population of British Columbia is not static, it is necessary to periodically review the number and boundaries of B.C.’s electoral districts to continue to ensure that B.C. residents have effective representation by population,” reads the Commission’s preliminary report.
“The Electoral Boundaries Commission Act (the Act) requires that an electoral boundaries commission be appointed after every second provincial general election to propose changes to the area, boundaries, and names of electoral districts in the province.”
Public meetings are ongoing in communities throughout the province, providing the public a chance for input regarding the proposed changes. The Commission held a public hearing in Kamloops on October 18, and will hold a number of online hearings that offer all areas of the province a chance to engage. The next online meeting will take place on Tuesday, November 8, at 5pm.
British Columbians can provide input to the Electoral Boundaries Commission by completing a written submission by email or post, or making an online submission via survey. All public input must be received by 11:59 pm on Nov. 22, 2022. For more information, visit: www.bcebc.ca.