Time for a change

The boundaries of existing electoral districts within the Columbia-Kootenay region could be changed under proposed Bill 2.

The Kootenay East, Nelson-Creston and Kootenay West electoral districts are part of the Columbia-Kootenay Region described in Bill 2 and could be subject to change, if new legislation passes.

Bill 2 seeks to amend the principles that will instruct the independent Electoral Boundaries Commission.

The proposed legislation would preserve the current number of electoral districts in northern and rural regions of the province that are most at risk of losing representation in the legislature.  This includes the Columbia-Kootenay region that has Rossland in it.

But the Electoral Boundaries Commission can recommend changes to the boundaries of individual districts within the Columbia-Kootenay in order to balance population across the region as a whole.

The proposed amendments to the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act are outlined in a white paper released recently by Attorney General and Justice Minister Suzanne Anton.

The white paper is available for viewing at http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/legislation/ebca/index.htm.

British Columbia’s demographics have changed significantly since the act was first passed almost 25 years ago, and recent boundaries commissions have found it challenging to balance population growth with the need to ensure effective representation for northern and rural British Columbians.

If passed in the spring sitting of the legislature, the amendments will give the next Electoral Boundaries Commission (EBC) clear direction to preserve the existing number of electoral districts in northern and rural regions of the province when recommending new boundaries.

The North, Cariboo-Thompson and Columbia-Kootenay are the regions with the sparsest population and, as a result, have a high number of geographically large electoral districts.

The boundaries of existing electoral districts within those three regions could be changed, but the EBCwould still be required to apply the principle of representation by population to the greatest extent possible.

The Columbia-Kootenay Region means a region consisting of the following electoral districts specified in the Electoral Districts Act: Columbia River-Revelstoke; (b) Kootenay East; (c) Kootenay West; (d) Nelson-Creston.

 

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