FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District met on Thursday to discuss the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, which could eliminate some Northern British Columbia seats in the Legislature, redistributing them to the Lower Mainland.

MLA Dan Davies spoke on this issue in the spring, saying that there’s a problem with the way communities in the north are being combined together to form a huge riding, just so that enough constituents are in a riding.

Davies says he’s already covering lots of kilometres in the current boundary configuration.

“My riding right now is almost 170,000 square kilometres. It’s a challenge, but I manage. Under this new proposal, we could be looking at super ridings. Three or four MLAs would represent the entire northern two-thirds of our province. Can you imagine representing from Fort St. John to Prince George and all the way north,” said Davies.

“A lot of our time is consumed by rural roads, the highway system, provincial roads, provincial bridges, the Taylor Bridge for instance, dealing with the snowmobile issues, backcountry issues, the list goes on and on regarding provincial jurisdictions that our rural MLAs continue to deal with.”

Davies says MLAs in the Lower Mainland likely don’t have to deal with so many things in such a large geographic area.

“A downtown Vancouver MLA likely doesn’t have a hospital, a provincial road, infrastructure like bridges, backcountry is not an issue, firefighters are not an issue. There really is a difference in a rural versus urban MLA.”

Davies says there could be a chance that 20 MLAs represent 80 per cent of the province, while 70 are representing a tiny portion of the province, but a large population.

“This is very concerning for all British Columbians. For folks that represent the areas that make up all of the natural resources from British Columbia, all of them are outside the Lower Mainland. When you look at the Lower Mainland, it produces only 2 per cent of the energy it consumes annually, yet will have the voice over all of it. It does raise concerns.”

According to Deputy Attorney General Richard Fyfe, the electoral boundaries commission must be appointed by October 24th. He wrote to Premier Horgan suggesting amendments to the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, with an emphasis on the need for balance between electoral districts.