Powell River is out and Pemberton is in. The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for B.C. has released its final recommendation on riding boundaries in the province following a long review.
Pemberton’s wish to be alongside Whistler and Squamish in the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky constituency has been granted.
“I’m very pleased to see the recommendations,” said Pemberton mayor Jordan Sturdy, who is doing double-duty as the MLA for the region after being elected to provincial office in May.
Sturdy said he read the final recommendations, noting that the three members of the review panel had listened to concerns and were open to removing Pemberton from the riding of Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon.
Speaking from his home in Pemberton, Sturdy said his community has very little in common with the towns in the Fraser Valley riding. He added that the geographic, social and economic connection to the Sea to Sky corridor is much stronger.
“It really makes more sense in so many regards, if you look at something like the Howe Sound Community Forum that consists of the Sunshine Coast, West Vancouver, Howe Sound and up to Pemberton,” said Sturdy. “These are logical geographic areas.”
The current MP for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky is Conservative John Weston.
The boundaries commission was tasked with creating six new constituencies for the province. B.C. now has 42 ridings, up from 36.
The panel held a public meeting last September in Squamish. Sturdy was there, along with Susie Gimse, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District representative in Area C, and Pemberton resident Maureen Douglas. All three supported returning the village to West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky.
When Whistler council learned in June there was talk of moving the resort out of the federal Sea to Sky riding and into a Fraser Valley with Pemberton, they wrote a letter to the commission stating that Whistler wanted it to stay where it was.
The Governor in Council is expected to proclaim the final report from the commission next month and following that the Canada Gazette will publish the riding descriptions and the maps.
The next general election is planned for October 2015. The earliest a general election could be called where the new boundaries would take effect is April 2014.
Check back on Thursday, Aug. 29 for more reaction to the federal election boundary changes.