The MLA for Cariboo North is generally pleased with the proposed changes to her riding being proposed by the BC Electoral Boundaries Commission.
Coralee Oakes says they avoided a worse case scenario.
“We appreciate the work that the Commissions did. They did listen to rural ridings about some of the complexities, the challenges that we have with both road infrastructure, the lack of internet, the lack of cell service and all of those pieces. It certainly was reflected in the report and due to what they heard they are not eliminating ridings in the north, so I think that’s good news.”
The Prince George-North Cariboo riding would include College Heights in PG, as well as Stoner, Hixon and Marguerite and Oakes says it would be much larger than her current riding.
“We go down to Horsely, we go out to Nazko, almost out to the West Chilcotin because you go out to the Soda Creek area and Buck Ridge, we go out to Barkerville and Wells, so it’s a very large riding by square kilometres. But now thankfully, because we’ve got the population base, we’ll no longer be at risk each electoral cycle of being amalgamated, so it was protected in that sense.”
Oakes says a larger riding certainly presents some challenges.
“Well I want to do a good job and for me it’s always critically important that I am able to effectively get the voices of the constituents heard and reflect it here in the legislature, that is always my concern. Any time you grow larger it becomes a challenge of how do you get everywhere ? I can’t do everything, I certainly understand that. We’ll make sure that we’ll be setting up another office and we’ll have staff.”
Oakes says one of the important things of being an MLA is being able to get out to communities when they have celebrations and important events, adding that as the riding gets larger you get pulled in a lot of different directions.
The Cariboo-Chilcotin riding is also potentially changing.
Williams Lake and 100 Mile House would be joined by Cache Creek and Ashcroft.