Federal electoral boundaries rejigged in Nanaimo

The proposed creation of a new federal electoral district near Victoria will have major implications in Nanaimo.

The proposed creation of a new federal electoral district near Victoria will have major implications in Nanaimo.

Due to population increases counted in the 2011 federal census, the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for British Columbia is proposing the new riding of South Cowichan-Juan de Fuca.

If approved, the new riding would split Nanaimo-Cowichan, currently held by NDP MP Jean Crowder, and push the riding northward to encompass virtually all of Nanaimo, as well as part of Ladysmith and Lake Cowichan. It would lose Duncan, Cobble Hill, Mill Bay and Chemainus to the new riding.

The new northern boundary of Nanaimo-Cowichan would be the intersection of the Nanaimo Parkway and Island Highway North.

Proposed boundaries for Nanaimo-Alberni would include the Regional District of Alberni-Clayoquot, part of Courtenay, the Village of Cumberland, and a very small piece of Nanaimo that would include the neighbourhood around Brannen Lake west of the Nanaimo Parkway.

Existing boundaries divide the ridings in Nanaimo at East Wellington Road to Townsite Road, along Boundary Avenue to Northfield Road and east to Highland Boulevard, along Departure Bay Road to its eastern limit at Fairview Channel. The city is split between the two ridings with about 45,000 people in both.

The changes could create electoral challenges for both Crowder and Lunney.

Crowder, first elected in 2004, has enjoyed strong NDP support in south Nanaimo and Duncan to help get her elected, while Lunney, first elected in 2000, has relied on north Nanaimo for support.

While neither politician would speculate on political consequences of the proposed changes, both admitted the changes would be considerable.

“I’m still in the process of digesting it, but over the next couple of weeks I’m hoping to talk to constituents to get their thoughts on it,” said Crowder. “When you consider access, it might mean that people living in Lake Cowichan would have to drive to Nanaimo to get service, and I’m not sure if that’s in the best interests of the constituents.”

The proposed change, which would be implemented in the spring of 2013 if approved, would mean Nanaimo only has one federal representative, instead of the historical two.

The idea behind the proposal is to maintain 105,000 to 110,000 voters per riding. With high population growth in Cowichan’s south end and Victoria’s north end, the new riding is necessary to maintain that balance, according to the commission.

“High population growth was noted between the North Shore and Chilliwack, on Vancouver Island, in the Okanagan as well as in the Kamloops area,” said John Hall, chairman of the three-member commission. “These changes have prompted us to make substantial adjustments to the boundary lines in these regions.”

Overall, B.C. could gain six electoral districts, increasing representation in the House of Commons from 42 to 48 seats, something Lunney said is important.

The most recent census showed B.C.’s population has increased from 3.9 million in 2001 to 4.4 million in 2011.

The proposed changes were released June 6.

Lunney said he was aware of a potential change, but didn’t expect Nanaimo to be eliminated from his riding altogether.

“I expected to be pushed north, but I certainly didn’t expect it to be quite this much,” said Lunney. “We give up about 40,000 voters in Nanaimo and we’d be picking up about 20,000 in Courtenay-Cumberland. Let’s face it, I’ve been working for Nanaimo-Alberni for a dozen years and I’ve done a lot of work for Nanaimo over those years so I certainly have better name recognition and connections in Nanaimo than I would have in Courtenay.”

Both Lunney and Crowder said it’s too soon to determine the political fallout from the restructuring. Crowder said she could run in either Nanaimo-Cowichan or South Cowichan-Juan de Fuca next election, while Lunney said he’ll consider his options after further consultation.

Both politicians encourage constituents to attend a scheduled public hearing on the matter on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Coast Bastion Inn. Presenters must register by Aug. 30 by e-mail at bc-cb@rfed-rcf.ca or by visiting www.federal-redistribution.ca.

reporter2@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Websit back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ restart plan

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read