The proposed boundaries for the new electoral areas add part of Courtenay to the North Island-Powell River riding. Photo courtesy Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for British Columbia

The proposed boundaries for the new electoral areas add part of Courtenay to the North Island-Powell River riding. Photo courtesy Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for British Columbia

North Island-Powell River riding to include part of Courtenay in proposed boundary shift

Nanaimo population growth caused Courtenay-Alberni, North Island-Powell River ridings to shift south

If new proposed electoral boundary maps are approved, the North Island-Powell River riding will be a bit bigger next time Canadians head to the polls.

According to a new map proposed Monday by the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for British Columbia, the riding will include parts of Courtenay on the north east side of the Puntledge River. The reason for the shift is increasing population in Nanaimo, which has led it to be under-represented.

“We are proposing that its northern boundary be moved to the south and, for balance, that a portion of the City of Courtenay from Courtenay-Alberni be incorporated in North Island-Powell River, giving Courtenay two electoral districts,” the commentary accompanying the proposed map released Monday says.

After the change, the North Island-Powell River riding will represent 125,964 people, and the Courtenay-Alberni riding will represent 123,978.

The commission was mandated in November by the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act to start the reconfiguration process. Reconfiguration is required by the Canadian constitution to take place every 10 years after the census. Part of that process included adding one riding to the province, which would bring it up to 43. Vancouver Island was one of two possible regions to get that new riding, but the commission decided that the region was already well-represented, and a new riding has been proposed for the Southern Interior.

“We are proposing quite a few boundary changes. The changes are mainly in response to the significant but uneven growth of our population. That growth pattern creates a domino effect if we are to be fair and have relative equality between voters in different electoral districts. Our proposal necessarily gives attention to what is possible and practical given our varied and rugged geography and our distinct communities. We look forward to receiving public input on it,” said the Honourable Justice Mary Saunders, Chair of the three-member commission. R. Kenneth Carty and Stewart Ladyman are the other members of the Commission who are responsible for the readjustment of the province’s federal electoral boundaries.

The commission will be holding 27 public hearings about the proposed map. One will be in Courtenay on June 6 at the Crown Isle Resort at 7 p.m. There will also be a virtual public hearing on Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. More information on the hearings is available at redecoupage-redistribution-2022.ca/com/bc/phrg/index_e.aspx. The full proposed map is also available online.

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marc.kitteringham@campbellrivermirror.com

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