Mayor Ladysmith plans to have a dialogue with the province after the B.C. Electoral Boundary Commission releases its final report on redesigning the electorate.
The commission submitted its final report last week, recommending that three ridings in the Greater Nanaimo area be realigned as Nanaimo-Gabriola, Nanaimo-Lantzville and Ladysmith-Oceanside.
The proposed changes mean Ladysmith, Saltair and Cassidy will become part of the riding area, along with Nanoose Bay, Parksville and Qualicum Beach, encircling Nanaimo’s two riding areas.
Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone said he disagreed with the proposal and said the new ride would create a disconnect that “doesn’t make sense”.
“If you look at the previous few censuses, we’ve all looked at different demographic directions,” he said. “Parksville and Qualicum are continuing to age, and we’re continuing our efforts to attract families and get younger.”
Historically, Ladysmith has had strong ties to the Cowichan Valley community, Stone said, noting that the town is a member of the Cowichan Valley Regional District. “It becomes very challenging when we don’t have those established representation relationships,” he said.
Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley said he was unmoved by the proposed ride changes.
“[Boundaries] It’s always more difficult when they’re first released, and then people adapt and find ways to form new relationships and keep the ones they already have,” he said.
Routley has been an MLA for Ladysmith and the South Nanaimo area since 2005, and he has seen multiple boundary changes during his career.
“For the past few terms, I’ve had to travel to the Nanaimo constituency to take the ferry to Gabriola, the island I represent [Nanaimo]-North Cowichan. So this is a little bit different.I can definitely sympathize with people,” he said. “But again, everyone comes from [Ladysmith council] And the various committee members of the Chemainus committee, the trustees of the school board, we have a group of very dynamic and capable people who are doing very good things. I have found both of them to be very good partners and I am very confident they will translate this into the new arrangement. “
In the commission’s final report, the boundary between the Nanaimo-Gabriola and Nanaimo-Lantzville ridings was Strathmore Street and Meredith Road.
Based on its initial report, the Electoral Boundary Commission held consultations in Nanaimo in November. The routes in the initial report were markedly different for the Greater Nanaimo Ride Area, which at the time was known as Nanaimo-Ladysmith, Nanaimo-Gabriola and Nanaimo-Waterfront.
The commission’s final report to the British Columbia Legislative Assembly was presented on Monday, April 3. It is now up to the legislature to decide whether to accept the recommendations.
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