B.C. Liberal candidate Ben Stewart votes in West Kelowna Wednesday in the Kelowna West provincial byelection.—Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

B.C. Liberal confident heading into Kelowna West byelection

Former MLA Ben Stewart hopes to win back the riding he gave up in 2013

B.C. Liberal candidate Ben Stewart cast his ballot in the Kelowna West byelection Wednesday, saying he feels confident he can win back the riding he represented between 2009 and 2013 but gave up to former Liberal leader leader Christy Clark.

“I’m feeling great,” said Stewart after voting in West Kelowna. “I’m encouraged by the advance polls. The voter turnout for the byelection seems very positive.”

Just over 6,000 votes were cast in the six days of advance voting last week. There are an estimated 46,000 voters in the riding that includes West Kelowna and the downtown area of Kelowna.

The Capital News has reached out to all five candidates in the byelection and will post stories through the day as we hear back from the candidates. Polls close at 8 p.m. You will also find the results on our web site as soon as they are available as well as reaction.

Related: Kelowna West voters head to the polls

Related: It’s byelection day in Kelowna West

Stewart said many voters he talked to during the campaign in the Kelowna portion of the riding don’t realize they are in the same riding as West Kelowna.

“That’s a bit of a concern for me, but it’s an issue for Elections B.C. (to address),” he said.

In terms of issues raised by voters, Stewart said because of the accelerated rate of growth in the economy, affordability has been impacted here.

“People trying to find a place—even trying to find a lot, let alone a house for sale—that’s one of the concerns I’ve heard a bit and I think government has a role to play,” he said.

The recently announced boycott of B.C. wine by the Alberta government may also have played a role in the byelection, according to Stewart, calling it one of the few tools Alberta Premier Rachel Notley had to strike back at B.C. for the current NDP government’s position on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline.

He said the project has been approved, went through a decade of review and now the B.C. government wants to review it and “change the rules.”

“I think that’s the problem,” said Stewart.

Opponents of the pipeline, including the NDP and the B.C. Green Party claim the process used to approve the pipeline plan was flawed.

Voting will remain open until 8 p.m. with the result of the byelection expected to be known around 8:30 p.m.

For information about voting, such a polling place locations and voting qualifications, go to electionsbc.ca.

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