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A new riding for the North Shore?
The North Shore could get a third MP when British Columbia adds six more ridings to its roster before the next federal election.
In a report published last week, the non-partisan Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for B.C. released its proposal for redrawing the province’s electoral map to make B.C.’s 36 existing seats into the 42 required for the next election.
The commission recommended that one of those new seats should be created by splitting the North Vancouver riding in two and marrying its eastern half with North Burnaby, across the Burrard Inlet.
Provisionally titled North Burnaby-Seymour, the new riding would comprise all of the District of North Vancouver east of Lynn Creek and all of Burnaby north of the Lougheed Highway.
B.C. boundaries commission chair Hon. Judge John Hall told The Outlook in a phone interview Tuesday that because of its sizable population growth since 2002, the North Shore was deemed ripe for redrawing by the commission.
“We try to get somewhere around 105,000 [people] in each federal electoral district,” Hall said, adding that both the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding and the North Vancouver riding have ballooned beyond that threshold. “And you don’t really have enough for three ridings on the North Shore but you have enough for sort of two and a half, so Burnaby was the one that would fit in with that and give you 100,000 to 105,000,” Hall said.
The report also recommends separating Powell River and Texada Island from the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding and adding it to Vancouver Island North in an effort to bring the approximately 135,000-person West Van seat in line with the federal standards.
Hall said that while the amalgamation of part of North Vancouver with North Burnaby is not ideal from a community standpoint, residents from both communities will have a chance to be heard on the issue come September.
“You don’t necessarily always want to do that if you can avoid it but we’ve got a number of places in the province where we’ve had to go across water boundaries and inlets,” Hall said, adding that North Vancouver will host the province’s first public input session on the electoral redraw at 7 p.m. on September 10 at the North Vancouver Holiday Inn.
Residents of West Vancouver are also welcome to attend that session, as well as one the following night in Squamish for their own potential riding redraw.
Of the six proposed new ridings for B.C., five are in the Lower Mainland and one is in the Nanaimo-Cowichan area of Vancouver Island.
Like the other provinces, B.C.’s boundaries commission does an electoral boundary redraw study every 10 years and presents its findings to parliament for consideration.