Current Central Okanagan Electoral Map. (Province of BC)
Current Central Okanagan Electoral Map. (Province of BC)

Kelowna wants three MLA's

by - Story: 36605

Kelowna Mayor, Sharon Shepherd, will go before the Electoral Boundary Commission Thursday, asking that proposed boundary changes in the Central Okanagan be amended.

In its preliminary report issued in August, 2007, the commission proposed the boundaries of the Okanagan-Westside riding, which included Peachland and Summerland be changed.

The new proposed riding, Kelowna-Westside, would include a finger of downtown Kelowna, as far east as Spall Road. Peachland and Summerland would then be included in a riding going south to Penticton.

Shepherd says the assumption is that the commission anticipated the Westside would have voted for amalgamation last June, which is why the Kelowna-Westside riding was drawn up the way it was.

Kelowna City staff prepared a new boundary structure which Shepherd will present to the commission.

It includes three ridings within the City of Kelowna and Lake Country boundary.

Kelowna Centre would follow Mission Creek to the south, Rutland Road to the East and Highway 97 to the north.

A Kelowna-East riding would include all of the Mission, plus portions of Rutland east of Rutland Road and Ellison.

The Kelowna-Lake Country riding would encompass the rest of Kelowna plus Lake Country.

The Kelowna-Lake Country riding has an estimated population of 44,000 while the other two are approximately 42,000.

Staff indicate growth in the three areas will be similar over the next 12 years, with approximately 10,000 additional people in each riding.

The Rutland area would be served by three different MLA's, and while some councilors saw that as a detriment, former MLA, Carol Gran saw it as a positive.

"I concur with what Councillor Clark said. This is really good for Rutland, because it doesn't matter what they do, they'll have three MLA's at their functions and at their meetings working for them," says Gran.

"They'll all work together and that's how it works. It works for Rutland big time."

Public submissions can be made to the commission until January 23.

The Electoral Boundary Commission will submit its final report to the Legislature by February 15.

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