The head of B.C.'s electoral boundaries commission is expecting some controversy with the newly proposed federal ridings for Burnaby.
The commission, an independent group of three appointed people, has redrawn the riding maps for B.C. to accommodate the province's growing population. Burnaby could end up with three ridings, one of which spans the Burrard Inlet and includes a sizeable chunk of the North Shore.
"I'm sure that's going to excite a certain amount of comment and controversy," said John Hall, a court of appeal judge who heads the commission.
Hall said the proposed changes for Burnaby are connected to adjustments in the Fraser Valley.
"If you look at the numbers, and factor in what we're doing in the valley, it's a bit like a domino (effect)," he said.
Burnaby now has two federal ridings: Burnaby-Douglas, (which covers the northern half of Burnaby) and Burnaby-New Westminster (which includes the south and a portion of neighbouring New Westminster). The proposed changes, which are still open to public input, suggest three ridings for the city: Burnaby South-Deer Lake, New Westminster-Burnaby East, and Burnaby North-Seymour which spans the Burrard Inlet and includes some of the North Shore. (See map for details.)
Former New Westminster-Burnaby MP Paul Forseth has seen the local electoral boundaries redrawn before during his political career.
"One concern is a district proposal that is divided over the water, like the Burrard Inlet or the Fraser River," he said. "We have had it before in the greater Vancouver region, and it was not liked by constituents."
Kennedy Stewart, the MP for Burnaby Douglas, told the NOW he's already received phone calls from confused constituents.
The three new ridings are at the proposal stage only, and the commission is hoping to hear what the public thinks. Public hearings will take place in fall in several locations throughout B.C. Burnaby's will be at the Holiday Inn Express Metrotown, at 4405 Central Blvd., on Thursday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. To attend, email email@example.com.
In all, B.C. will get six new electoral districts because the province's population has grown from 3.9 million in 2001 to 4.4 million in 2011. For more information and to see more detailed maps of the current and proposed ridings, visit www.rede coupage-federal-redistribution.ca.