New riding for Kelowna's core, Kamloops split in new proposed federal districts

New electoral maps tabled

New federal electoral boundaries for B.C. were formally tabled in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

The maps revealed by the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for British Columbia are dramatically different from those initially proposed last year, which sparked some backlash.

A riding will be added to represent the core of Kelowna north of Mission Creek to Duck Lake, as well as the Highway 33 corridor and area surrounding Big White.

The new riding of Okanagan Lake West - South Kelowna will include Kelowna’s Mission and Southeast as well as West Kelowna to Summerland.

Gone is the previous proposal for a riding to span Glenmore to Vernon, which was opposed by local politicians.

The Vernon-Monashee riding will include Vernon, Lake Country, Coldstream east to the Slocan Valley.

Penticton, which was initially proposed to be split into two ridings, is now planned to be the largest centre in a vast riding called Similkameen-West Kootenay.

The riding includes the entire Similkmeen, South Okanagan with the exception of Summerland, and the West Kootenays including Castlegar.

The boundaries commission says Kamloops was its biggest challenge in the Southern Interior.

Kamloops and its surrounding service area is too large for one riding, but too small for two.

The commission decided that the population of the city “must be spread into two electoral districts, with each part joining an extended community of smaller populations.”

The report noted that they heard feedback that “strongly advocated to keep Kamloops whole,” but it was just not possible.

The Kamloops-Thompson Nicola riding will include everything west of 6th Avenue to Lillooet and north to Clearwater.

The Kamloops-Shuswap-Central Rockies riding includes everything east of 6th Avenue in Kamloops to the Alberta border along the Highway 1 corridor.

“The Commission is appreciative of the participants who devoted their thought and energy to this process of Canadian democracy, and expresses its gratitude for their engagement,” said Justice Mary Saunders, Chair of the three-member commission.

With the report now before the House of Commons, MPs will be able to make formal objections in a process expected to to wrap in May. The districts are expected to be finalized by September.

The full report can be found here.

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