BC’s Electoral Boundaries Commission is proposing renaming the provincial Nelson-Creston riding and adding more communities to it.
The commission’s preliminary report, released Monday, suggests Nakusp, New Denver, and Silverton be added from Kootenay West, and the riding should be renamed Kootenay Central to reflect the fact that it contains more than two communities.
Nelson-Creston has been the riding’s name since 1933, and included the Slocan Valley and Arrow Lakes in previous configurations.
Overall the commission suggests retaining the same number of ridings in the region, including Kootenay West, Kootenay East and Columbia River-Revelstoke. The exercise is intended to balance out the population between ridings.
“Many people expressed concern that we might propose reducing the number of electoral districts in this area,” the commission wrote.
“Residents pointed to travel and communication barriers that currently impede effective representation. Some stressed the different identities of the East and West Kootenays, and others suggested changes to recognize links between specific communities.”
The commission said it concluded that “effective representation for this area of the province requires four electoral districts” but their proposed adjustments “reduce the differences between the populations of each of this area’s ridings, and bring the population of all four districts within the usual deviation range.”
The commission will now seek public feedback on its proposals, including a meeting in Nelson on Thursday, Oct. 20. The deadline for all feedback is Nov. 22, and any changes have to be adopted by the legislature by April, to take effect in the next provincial election.