The commission established to recommend new districts for electing our members of parliament has proposed a "North Burnaby-Seymour" riding that does not meet the tests of community interests and effective representation. It is also unnecessary. The population of the region encompassing North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler and Bowen Island is almost exactly right for two electoral districts. The population of Burnaby, New Westminster, Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam is almost exactly right for five electoral districts.
Burnaby itself has enough people for a little more than two districts. My suggestion to the commission is for a North Burnaby riding and a South Burnaby riding, excluding the region of Burnaby east of Gaglardi Way and Cariboo Road. This latter region could be combined with the neighbouring part of Coquitlam along the North Road/Columbia Street corridor and added to New Westminster to form a riding which I would call New Westminster-Burquitlam.
So why did the commission do what it did? It placed the lower Sunshine Coast with West Vancouver, something that people from Gibsons and Sechelt have now said emphatically that they do not want as they are entirely different communities; and, they do not want to be separated from Powell River and northern Vancouver Island, much more similar communities.
By placing the lower Sunshine Coast with Powell River, the problematic North Burnaby-Seymour riding disappears, as also does another oddity - the combining of southern Port Coquitlam with Pitt Meadows. There is of course a drawback to my proposal. The average population of the Vancouver Island ridings will increase slightly and that of the Fraser Valley ridings will decrease slightly.
In both cases the deviations from the provincial average will be increased, but these deviations can be kept to under 10 per cent, a figure the commission has been willing to live with.
If one considers that these boundaries will be used from 2015 to 2023, the mid point of which is 2019, one should also consider the effects of likely population changes. Using past changes as a guide one finds that the future changes will bring the riding populations closer to equality in 2019.
David Huntley, Burnaby