At a Thursday visit to Courtenay by the Provincial Electoral Boundaries Commission, local elected officials spoke with a united voice to restore the Comox Valley provincial riding to its former boundaries.
In 2015, the Valley was split as a result of provincial boundary adjustments, leaving Cumberland and Area A to be part of the sprawling Mid-Island Pacific Rim electoral district in provincial elections. Courtenay, Comox, and Areas B and C remained as a single electoral district.
In mid-March, a motion by CVRD Area A representative Daniel Arbour passed unanimously to ask the province to consider bringing back the Comox Valley together with a single MLA.
“The Comox Valley is a distinct, compact, and culturally-linked region,” Arbour said. “Having Cumberland and Area A be in a district with Tofino, Port Alberni and Bamfield does not offer the best or easiest representation for Comox Valley residents.”
Cumberland Mayor Leslie Baird requested the village to rejoin the Comox Valley provincial district.
“Our residents are 10 minutes away from the MLA office in Courtenay, but our representative’s constituency office is in Port Alberni, more than 100 kilometers away,” she said.
In his presentation, Comox Mayor Russ Arnott underlined the unity of Comox Valley elected officials on this issue. “Everyone in the Valley seems to agree on this,” Arnott said. “We may have differences but we know we are one region.”
Some of the factors influencing provincial electoral boundaries include population numbers, geographical and social factors, and rural considerations. Courtenay Coun. Doug Hillian spoke on the Comox Valley as a community of interest, with an aligned school district, regional district and business corridor, while Area C director Edwin Grieve highlighted the history, roots and culture of the Valley dating back to the 1800s.
The three-member Provincial Electoral Boundary commission is travelling across B.C., and accepting written and verbal submissions from the public. It will produce a draft report in the coming months, and finalize its work prior to the next Provincial election.
For more information or to make a submission, visit https://bcebc.ca/