A change could be coming to the West Kootenay-Boundary’s electoral district boundaries.
The B.C. government is proposing to amend legislation to maintain existing northern and rural electoral districts and ensure that the number of provincial electoral districts stays at 85.
The proposed amendments to the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act are outlined in a white paper released last week by Attorney General and Justice Minister Suzanne Anton.
The white paper is available for public comment (http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/legislation/ebca/index.htm).
British Columbia’s demographics have changed significantly since the act was first passed almost 25 years ago, and recent boundaries commissions have found it challenging to balance population growth with the need to ensure effective representation for northern and rural British Columbians.
If passed in the spring sitting of the legislature, the amendments will give the next Electoral Boundaries Commission (EBC) clear direction to preserve the existing number of electoral districts in northern and rural regions of the province when recommending new boundaries.
The North, Cariboo-Thompson and Columbia-Kootenay are the regions with the sparsest population and, as a result, have a high number of geographically large electoral districts.
The boundaries of existing electoral districts within those three regions could be changed, but the EBCwould still be required to apply the principle of representation by population to the greatest extent possible.
The Columbia-Kootenay Region means a region consisting of the following electoral districts specified in the Electoral Districts Act: Columbia River-Revelstoke; (b) Kootenay East; (c) Kootenay West; (d) Nelson-Creston;
Although the region will not have the number of electoral districts reduced from the number that currently exists, the commission may adjust or change boundaries of electoral districts in the Columbia-Kootenay Region.
The Electoral Boundaries Commission Act requires that an independent three-member EBC be appointed within one year after every second provincial general election. The next EBC must be appointed by May 14, 2014.
Public input can be submitted to: CPLOBoundaries@gov.bc.ca
• About the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act:
• About the Electoral Boundaries Commission: http://www.elections.bc.ca/