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Proposed changes to Vernon and Kelowna provincial riding concern for MLA

MLA Norm Letnick made his concerns known to BC Electoral Boundaries Commission.
Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick appeared before the BC Electoral Boundaries Commission Nov. 23. (Contributed)

Kelowna Lake-Country MLA Norm Letnick is urging the BC Electoral Boundaries Commission (BCEBC) to reconsider some of its proposed changes to provincial ridings.

The commission’s preliminary report on redrawing boundaries recommends extending Kelowna-Lake Country north to include a significant chunk of Vernon: Beachcomber Bay, Okanagan Landing, and East Bella Vista Highlands.

Those communities are currently part of the Vernon-Monashee riding. The rationale is that the change reduces the population of Vernon-Monashee, bringing it in line with Kelowna-Lake Country.

In his submission to the BCEBC on Nov. 23, Letnick cited Census Canada data that indicated the population in the two ridings may only differ by about 1,200 people in the next five years.

“Therefore maintaining KLC’s current north boundary with the VM riding might still be possible without serious consequence to representation,” Letnick told the commission.

He pointed out that opposition to the change has been made to the BCEBC by the City of Vernon and Vernon Chamber of Commerce.

READ MORE: Vernon chamber opposed to proposed electoral boundary changes

Letnick thanked the commission for recognizing the need for a fourth Central Okanagan MLA and the creation of a Kelowna Central riding.

He also noted some Big White residents have again voiced disappointment with being included in the Boundary-Similkameen riding.

“From economic to education, road infrastructure and maintenance, health care and political representation, Big White has consistently relied on the three Kelowna MLAs to represent them,” he explained.

Letnick added that he and the other MLAs believe a majority of Kelowna and Big White residents support moving the community into the Kelowna-Lake Country or Kelowna Mission riding.

Public input to the BCEBC is now closed.

The commissions’ final report is expected to be presented to the Legislature by Apr. 3, 2023.

READ MORE: Vernon mural artist thrilled with beautification commitment


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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
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