RDKB urges all residents to oppose radical federal boundary changes
The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Board is urging all its residents to take immediate action in response to Elections Canada’s plans to redistribute federal electoral district boundaries.
“It’s extremely concerning that a second draft of the federal boundary review has only just been released and is such a radical departure from what was initially presented at the one public hearing held in Cranbrook,” says RDKB Area A Director Ali Grieve, who is one of many in vehement opposition. “Now there is no opportunity for public input which is unacceptable. We need to send a clear, strong united message: These changes? No way!” she adds.
The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for the Province of British Columbia plans to remove all of the Beaver Valley (Electoral Area A and the villages of Montrose and Fruitvale) from the rest of the RDKB and join it with the riding in the East Kootenay/Rockies Region to form the reconfigured federal electoral district of Columbia – Kootenay – Southern Rockies.
Area E/West Boundary-Big White would also be impacted by the proposed changes. Most of the Hwy 33 corridor from Kelowna to the south of Beaverdell would become part of the newly named Okanagan Lake West – South Kelowna federal electoral district.
“The realignment of boundaries strips the RDKB of its identity, splits the region, aligns us with areas that have different social, cultural and economic concerns and imposes a federal political divide within our regional district which would only serve to weaken our voice,” says RDKB’s Board Chair Linda Worley, whose elected officials are strongly opposing these recent changes. “MP Richard Cannings will soon file an objection with the House of Commons but needs your voice, our voice, to add to it,” she adds.
All RDKB residents are being urged to email firstname.lastname@example.org before March 6 so that he can take the written objections to the Procedure and House Affairs Committee.
In the e-mail state where you live and that you strongly oppose the proposed change to your Federal Electoral Boundaries as your Community of Interest and Identity have always been with the West Kootenay /Boundary region. Please stop this change where no public input was provided.
“Historically, the whole of the RDKB has been in the same federal electoral district and our collective advocacy has been a strong and effective one when we’ve had to lobby our MP on issues of regional concern,” explains Area E Director Sharen Gibbs.
“The commissioner has not considered the needs of our constituents who share a community of interest and identity with our RDKB neighbours,” says Steve Morissette, Mayor of Fruitvale.
“Historically, we’ve always been part of the West Kootenays, not divided from it,” says Mike Walsh, Mayor of Montrose. “Why would we want to change the status quo that has worked so well for us?” he adds.