The BC Electoral Boundaries Commission is proposing big changes to the Cariboo region’s two electoral areas.
A report recommends that Quesnel, currently part of the Cariboo North riding, be swallowed up in a riding with Prince George.
The Prince George-Cariboo riding would include the southern neighbourhoods of Prince George as well as the communities of Quesnel, Likely, Stoner, Hixon and Wells.
100 Mile House and Williams Lake would be part of a Cariboo-North Thompson riding that would also consist of Clearwater, Barrière and Anahim Lake.
The report indicates that the reasoning behind the proposed changes are that the population is growing at a slower rate than the provincial average in these areas.
It says that consideration was given to combining the two Cariboo electoral districts into one.
“However, we concluded that the better alternative for effective representation is to keep four ridings and propose boundary adjustments that bring the population of each electoral district within the usual deviation range. We also considered adding the Bella Coola valley to Cariboo-North Thompson but decided against that because it would have further reduced the small population of the North Coast electoral district. Residents in this area consistently emphasized the challenge of ensuring effective representation for people living in rural and remote areas. They highlighted the inadequacy of existing transportation and connectivity infrastructure. Many told us that we should maintain the existing electoral district boundaries. Some said that ensuring adequate representation in growing urban areas should not come at the expense of the residents of this area.”
Nitya Iyer, a BC Supreme Court Justice and Chair of the Commission, says the proposal for the Quesnel riding distributes the population concentrated in Prince George over three ridings, bringing all of that area’s ridings within the usual deviation range.
The report also adds 6 electoral districts, mostly in the Lower Mainland, due to population growth there.
The 6 new seats would be in Langford, Burnaby, Langley, Surrey, Vancouver and Kelowna.
The commission will now begin a final round of public consultations with public hearings to begin this month in communities throughout the province.
Ultimately, politicians in the Legislature will then decide whether to accept all, some or none of the recommendations.