FEBC supports proposed federal changes to riding to include Pemberton 

Recommendations that community joins West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country tabled in Parliament

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CATHRYN ATKINSON - NEW BOUNDARY AHEAD Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy attends meeting on new federal boundary expansion.
  • Photo by Cathryn Atkinson
  • NEW BOUNDARY AHEAD Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy attends meeting on new federal boundary expansion.

Pemberton and Mt. Currie will join the West Vancouver-Sea to Sky federal riding, if recommendations of the electoral boundaries commission (FEBC) report are adopted.

The FEBC handed down its recommendations in Ottawa Jan.28, which were tabled in Parliament.

"As a result of submissions received, the commission has added the Pemberton-Mount Currie area to West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, an electoral district much more reflective of that area's community of interest," states the commission in its report.

"The eastern boundary of the electoral district now generally follows the municipal divide between West Vancouver and North Vancouver."

The MP of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, John Weston, said if passed, he gain Pemberton and its agricultural region at the expense of the more densely populated North Vancouver part of his riding with its population of 10,000 and the Sunshine Coast community of Powell River. Both are to go to neighbouring ridings.

"It was an independent group (the FEBC) that reached this conclusion based on various factors including trying to reduce the population of our riding, which was much above the national average and way above the intended population of around 100,000," he said.

"Based partly on the initiative of Mayor Jordan Sturdy and others from Pemberton the commission was persuaded that while even trying to reduce the numbers that Pemberton should come back to this riding. I'm really excited to welcome them back to the Sea to Sky corridor where there is a natural community of interest."

Weston said there remained opportunities for objections to the recommendations to be filed by MPs in the next 30 days.

"But given how comprehensive the hearings were, it would be an uphill battle to make changes in the proposed redistribution at this point," he said.

Pemberton mayor Jordan Sturdy said he was hopeful and optimistic that the realignment of the federal riding would be in place by the end of the year.

"I'm glad to see that the federal boundary commission paid attention to the argument that Village of Pemberton, the (Squamish-Lillooet Regional District) Electoral Area C put forward that reflect the right alignment in that virtually everything that affects us on a daily basis is oriented to the south, be it recreation, societal issues, environmental , transportation, business opportunities, it all flows down the Sea to Sky Corridor," he said.

Sturdy is hoping to become the new provincial Liberal representative for the region following the retirement of MLA Joan McIntyre, in time for upcoming the B.C. election in May 2013.

Overall, British Columbia is gaining six electoral districts as a result of the increase in its population. Nearly two thirds of the province's electoral districts are located in the Lower Mainland region, and five new electoral districts will be added there. The Vancouver Island region gains one new electoral district, while the 36 existing districts are reconfigured. The report follows the public hearings that took place across the province between September 10 and October 18, 2012.

"The final configuration of electoral districts throughout British Columbia has been greatly influenced by submissions and presentations from the public. While it is not possible to satisfy everyone, the commission believes its final report provides for effective representation in all 42 electoral districts," said the Honourable John E. Hall, chair of the three-member commission.

"The commission has not made changes for the sake of change, but was required to redesign electoral districts to reflect the very considerable population growth in the province over the past 10 years. The commission has sought, throughout, to give primacy to historical patterns of representation and communities of interest without sacrificing due regard for the electoral quota of 104,763.

"The commission wishes to pay tribute to those citizens and elected officials who took the time and effort to provide advice. This advice made the commission more aware of perceived problems and local issues. It was a democratic process that measurably aided the commission in its deliberations."

Two matters the FEBC could not deal with inside its mandate were recommendations about changing the present first-past-the-post electoral system to provide for some form of proportional representation, and secondly submissions to either decrease or freeze the number of electoral districts throughout the country.

"These matters are for Parliament rather than this Commission to consider," stated the report

To consult the report, visit www.federal-redistribution.ca.

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