FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – After the BC Electoral Boundaries Commission added a second meeting in Dawson Creek, MLA Dan Davies penned a second letter asking why they aren’t hosting a meeting in Fort St. John.
On Monday, the commission announced that they would be holding a second in-person meeting in Dawson Creek on May 9th at 7:30 p.m.
The commission’s announcement comes just days after Davies wrote his first letter sharing his concerns about the commission’s public engagement process.
“While I am happy to see a second meeting has been called in the Peace Region, I
am shocked and dismayed that the commission has chosen to schedule a second
meeting in Dawson Creek, rather than Fort St John, where no meetings are
currently scheduled,” Davies says in his letter.
Davies says he’s heard from many Fort St. John residents who he claims are “dismayed” that they will have to drive to Dawson Creek. He adds that these residents are reaching out to his office, wondering why they’ve been excluded.
“With snow still falling in the Peace Region, sending large numbers of people down
the highway when not necessary is unacceptable when the commission has the
option to host a local meeting instead,” Davies said.
“The commission itself has stated the challenges of travelling through northern BC. This only highlights what we as northern British Columbians experience daily.”
Between May 9 and 12, the commission says it will visit nine communities across northern, interior and coastal BC: Prince George, Vanderhoof, Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson, Dease Lake, Powell River, Sechelt, West Vancouver and Squamish.
Last October, the newly formed commission was appointed to begin a review of the electoral boundaries, conducted every two general elections. They will evaluate the boundaries and the number of constituents in each riding, making boundary changes to try and evenly distribute residents among MLAs.
The commission has an interactive mapping application that residents can utilize to propose changes to an electoral district boundary. According to the application, “all proposals are taken into consideration by the commissioners before the preliminary report in 2022.”
MLAs in Northeast B.C. worry this may lead to northern seats being redistributed to the Lower Mainland, making it harder for MLAs to connect with their constituents.
Through amendments to the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act passed last year, the commission can create six new electoral districts, resulting in a potential decrease in the number of northern seats in the Legislative Assembly.
A public survey is available until May 31st for those unable to attend a public meeting.
Read Davies’ full letter below.
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