B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission recommends expansion of local riding

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson is cautiously optimistic about the findings of the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission which could see his riding grow to include Clearwater and Barriere. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson is cautiously optimistic about the findings of the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission which could see his riding grow to include Clearwater and Barriere. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson is cautiously optimistic about the findings of the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission which could see his riding grow to include Clearwater and Barriere. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 MIle Free Press)Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson is cautiously optimistic about the findings of the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission which could see his riding grow to include Clearwater and Barriere. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 MIle Free Press)

The Cariboo-Chilcotin Riding may grow next election with the inclusion of Clearwater and Barriere.

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson said the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission’s preliminary suggestions were delivered to MLAs late last week. Despite his earlier fears, Doerkson said most of the commission’s findings are good for rural B.C.

“Rural B.C. spoke loudly and wanted to be heard that they didn’t want less representation,” Doerkson said. “So all through the north, through the Peace Country, Cariboo, the Kootenays and Shuswap have really stayed the same as far as the MLA number count is concerned.”

However, the boundaries for each riding have vastly changed and in most cases expanded.

An additional four MLAs will be added in Vancouver and another in Kelowna, Doerkson added.

Doerkson said with the inclusion of Clearwater and Barriere, his new riding will include 5,000 additional people to represent. He added each riding in B.C. is supposed to contain roughly 55,000 people give or take a few hundred.

“Ultimately our riding, as large as it is physically, is low on the number count,” Doerkson said. “I’m excited to represent those people as well, should I be elected again.”

This fall Doerkson said the commission will undertake another round of public consultations for feedback on their proposal. It will likely come before the House of Representatives in the spring for approval.

If the new boundaries are adopted by Victoria, Doerkson said he will do his level best to represent everyone in the riding. While he admits this will require some extra time on the road to touch base with everyone, he’s looking forward to the challenge.

“It could be put into use as early as next year if there was an election as there have been many rumours of,” Doerkson said. “These new boundaries might be able to use in a fall 2023 election but it’s a bit of a stretch, to be honest. Elections B.C. needs quite a bit of time to rejig everything and that can’t be done overnight.

“Ultimately if the election comes in 2024 and the proposal stays intact through the next wave of public consultation and the government chooses to make the change we’ll see it used in the next election.”



patrick.davies@100milefreepress.net

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