Shortly after announcing the April 25 all-candidates meeting for the Parksville-Qualicum riding in the upcoming provincial election, The NEWS received an alarmed call from a resident who lives north of Qualicum Beach.
In electoral terms, it appears she is no longer part of our greater community. And you can scrap Coombs and Errington, as well.
While we may all consider ourselves happy neighbours sharing a common geography, the merry mapmakers of Elections B.C. have aligned most of the communities surrounding Parksville and Qualicum Beach with Tofino and Cumberland.
Wait — they’ve aligned Tofino and Cumberland?
To the credit of those charged with trying to create ridings balanced in terms of both population and common demographics, scraping together sufficient population numbers from the more remote areas of B.C. presents a very real challenge.
At the more or less geographical centre of the riding is Port Alberni, which has undergone several riding realignments as a result of stagnant population growth over the past two decades.
The Mid Island-Pacific Rim riding, formerly Port Alberni-Pacific Rim, is now a sprawling geographical behemoth stretching from coast to coast, from Tofino and Ucluelet to Cumberland to the River’s Edge community south of Parksville.
So, while Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Nanoose Bay residents may choose to attend their all-candidates meeting at Parksville’s Community and Conference Centre, many other residents in the riding could face some extensive travel to attend their own all-candidates meeting, which also takes place tonight, at Port Alberni’s Italian Hall.
The Mid Island-Pacific Rim riding boasts six candidates: Dan Cebuliak for the B.C. Refederation Party; Robert Alexander Clarke for the Libertarian Party; Darren Frank DeLuca for the B.C. Liberal Party; Julian Fell for the B.C. Conservative Party; Scott Fraser, the incumbent, for the B.C. NDP; and Alicia La Rue for the B.C. Green Party.
Local polling places for the riding include the Bradley Centre at 975 Shearme Rd. in Coombs; Lighthouse Community Centre at 240 Lions Way in Bowser, and Fanny Bay Community Hall at 7793 Island Hwy. S. in Fanny Bay.
For more info, please visit elections.bc.ca.
— Parksville Qualicum Beach News