The final report on B.C.'s new federal ridings is out, and the commissioners tasked with redrawing the map have gone ahead with a controversial proposal to combine part Burnaby-Douglas with North Vancouver.
According to the report, Burnaby will have three federal ridings: Burnaby South, New Westminster-Burnaby, and Burnaby North-Seymour, which includes part of the North Shore.
Burnaby currently 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 commission's idea to combine Burnaby with the North Shore was met with some opposition and criticism from the public and the NDP, including MP Kennedy Stewart. Stewart now holds the Burnaby-Douglas riding and may stand to lose the seat to the Conservatives because of the changes.
In their report, the commissioners, which held public hearing on the proposed changes, described the Burnaby-North Shore dilemma as one of their most difficult challenges.
"It was and remains apparent to the commission that there is a distinct lack of enthusiasm on both sides of Burrard Inlet for some combination of the existing North Vancouver and Burnaby-Douglas electoral districts to address deviations from the electoral quota," they wrote in their report. "There were many submissions that viewed the large arterial corridor of the Ironworkers Memorial (Second Narrows) Bridge as more of a challenge to than an enhancement of access and communication for constituents. The commission appreciates these concerns but is ultimately of the view that there has to be an amalgamation of these areas into a reconfigured electoral district, Burnaby North-Seymour. On occasion over the past 40 years, these two areas have been united to comprise a single electoral district."
Stewart was on vacation and not available for immediate comment, nor was fellow NDP MP Peter Julian, who also spoke out publicly against combining Burnaby and the North Shore.
In the final report, the commission did, however, make some slight changes to the original proposal for Burnaby.
The proposed electoral district of Burnaby South-Deer Lake, now renamed Burnaby South, has undergone some "modest alteration," the report stated, and the commission has reunited all parts of the City of New Westminster in the renamed electoral district of New Westminster-Burnaby, while including parts of South Burnaby.
The commission formed in February 2012 to redraw the federal electoral boundaries to accommodate the province's growing population while maintaining a balance of approximately 105,000 people in each riding. To see the report, visit www.federal-redistribution.ca.
© Copyright 2013