South-end riding boundary in Nanaimo shifts

NANAIMO – Electoral Boundary Commission moves Nanaimo-North Cowichan boundary north to Fourth Street.

The member of legislative assembly for Nanaimo-North Cowichan is expressing relief as proposed electoral boundary changes appear to have minimal impact on his riding.

Doug Routley saw his constituency change by 50 per cent with B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission recommendations six years ago, but changes in the most recent proposal won’t be so drastic.

The commission’s 2015 preliminary report, released Thursday, proposes an area encompassing Vancouver Island University and College Heights be added to the Nanaimo electoral district from Nanaimo-North Cowichan. The move would put the university in the same district as most of its staff and students, the report said.

In addition, the southern boundary between the two ridings would be moved up to Fourth Street from Fifth.

Routley estimated he has about 50,000 constituents and based on the proposal, that would increase by about 3,000, while fellow NDP member and Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog would see his constituency increase by about 5,000.

However, Routley said caucus is reviewing the entire electoral map to see how other areas are affected and wouldn’t be able to offer an opinion until then.

“I’m relieved there isn’t a large change, because there was such a large change last time, that locally is a relief to me, but overall, the report is taken as a whole and that’s how it gets reviewed,” said Routley. “If they do go back and reassess it, they will reassess everything.”

Krog was unavailable for comment due to legislative duties.

Under the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, an electoral boundaries commission must be struck up after every second general election, to examine changes related to B.C.’s electoral area districts.

Feedback is being encouraged and will be accepted online, by e-mail or mail until May 26. Final proposals are required to be submitted as recommendations by late-September.

To view the report or for more information, please go to www.bc-ebc.ca.