Strong message sent over Falkland boundary

Officials wanting to boot Falkland from its current riding have been told to back off

Officials wanting to boot Falkland from its current riding have been told to back off.

The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission has received numerous submissions opposed to possibly shifting Falkland from Okanagan-Shuswap to a new constituency that includes downtown Kelowna, Summerland, Merritt, Logan Lake and Princeton.

“We have no ties to the other areas,” said Rene Talbot, Falkland’s Columbia-Shuswap Regional District director, who spoke to the commission in Kelowna Wednesday.

Talbot points out that all economic, social and political links are with Vernon, Armstrong and Salmon Arm.

“We work there, play there and live there.”

A major concern is a new riding could make it challenging for Falkland residents to meet with their elected representative.

“There’s no sense to being in a riding where the MP is on the other side of the mountain,” said Talbot.

Also speaking to the boundaries commission Wednesday was Roy Derrick, with the Okanagan-Shuswap Liberal Association.

“Forcing Falkland residents into the Central Okanagan-Coquihalla riding would dilute the power of their votes by extracting them from their community of interest with Greater Vernon and submerging them under the weight of tens of thousands of other voters with whom they have no transportation links or other significant ties,” said Derrick.

A presentation was also made by the Falkland Community Association while the Okanagan-Shuswap Conservative Association has made a written submission to the commission.

Al Schalm, with the Conservative association, doesn’t believe it makes sense to split communities  in the Salmon River Valley between ridings.

“All people in the valley have a common interest,” he said.

Falkland residents rallied against the boundary proposal Tuesday and a petition has been launched. Talbot will ask the CSRD board to join the fight Oct. 18.

“You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would support it,” said Talbot.

“We will keep putting pressure on them.”