Riding boundaries won’t change much

  • Feb. 18, 2008 7:00 a.m.

The provincial North Coast riding would remain pretty much unchanged under proposals contained in a report by the BC Electoral Boundaries Commission. The commission submitted its final report last week. Overall, it recommends a net increase in the number of MLAs in BC to 83 from the current 79 to reflect population increases in the Lower Mainland and Okanagan regions. Because the population in the northern part of the province isn’t increasing as quickly as in the south, the commission recommends that northern BC lose one of its MLAs. Right now, eight MLAs represent northern BC; if the Legislature adopts the report, this would be reduced to seven. However, unlike the other northern ridings, the North Coast riding would emerge almost intact. The commission said our riding is already geographically large and challenging to represent as many communities can’t be reached by road, only by boat or small plane. The North Coast riding is one of the largest in the province yet has the smallest population, at just over 23,000 people. The average riding in BC has around 50,000 people. It is now up to the Legislature to decide whether to adopt the commission’s proposals. The next provincial election will be held in May, 2009.