Will some or all of the provinces electoral boundaries change?
That’s the question that will be answered following a series of public meetings and consultations held across the province in the coming months.
On Tuesday, members of the BC Electoral Boundaries Commission held a public meeting at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn to receive input and answer questions from the public on the area, names and boundaries of provincial electoral districts.
Prior to the meeting, the Optimist had a chance to speak with Commission Chair Justice Nitya Iyer to learn about the process and the steps ahead.
Iyer said the three commissioners were appointed last October and began the planning on the first consultation sessions.
Tuesday’s session was one of the first the commission has held.
“We will put the information we get from the public together with the geographic data we get from Stats BC and Stats Canada and make proposals for reform, or changes in the electoral districts,” she said. “From there we put that in a preliminary report that will be tabled in the Legislative Assembly and made public. We hope to do that around September so we can then hold a second round of public hearings in the fall. The purpose of the second round is to get people’s comment on the report and will focus on areas that we are recommending change.”
She said the final report has to be submitted to the Provincial Legislature by April 2023.
By provincial legislation a commission is created to review electoral boundaries in the province after every second general election, so the last one was in 2015 and then before that in 2008.
“Basically the challenge of what we are doing, is we have the figures from the 2021 census, which is great, but we need to try and establish the districts now looking forward to the next two elections, so it is very much a projection exercise,” she said. “We don’t only consider population growth, or density or sparsity, we also consider geographic factors, so it is really important to get out and hear what people have to say because they are the ones living in these communities.”
Residents who were unable to attend the meeting in Delta or any of the public meetings across the province, can still be involved in the process.
Iyer said the commission’s website at: bcebc.ca is a place where residents can make a submission and or participate in a survey with an interactive map and a series of questions to be answered.
There will also be virtual hearings held as well. All information on these virtual meetings is also on the website.