After the redrafting of the province’s federal electoral map, Lake Cowichan and area residents can breathe a sigh of relief.
The report submitted in the House of Commons Jan. 28 by the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for B.C. has grouped Lake Cowichan in with two other ridings to form a Cowichan-Malahat-Langford riding.
An earlier draft of the report had Lake Cowichan in a Nanaimo-based riding, separate from Duncan, and no one in the town wanted that.
The mayor says the new proposal is more in keeping with the connection Lake Cowichan maintains with the Cowichan Valley.
“I am pleased that they listened to our concerns and have kept us in a riding with the rest of the Cowichan Valley,” Mayor Ross Forrest said. “It totally makes sense. Obviously they took our concerns into consideration.”
When Nanaimo-Cowichan MP Jean Crowder attended the town’s council meeting on Jan. 22, she mentioned the report on the changes, saying the good thing was that the commission did listen to people who had some concerns.
For Lake Cowichan residents, it makes a lot more sense to be grouped in with the southern ridings, if only for the location and transport issues as it was pointed out in previous articles that ran in the Gazette in July and October 2012.
“Lake Cowichan residents still have to drive into Duncan if they want to talk to their MP, but this would (have meant) additional mileage to get to Nanaimo,” Crowder said at the time.
In general Lake Cowichan residents seem to be relieved that the government came to their senses — as far as practicality goes — when they made the final decision.
“I wasn’t surprised, because it just didn’t make any sense,” Don Gordon, a former Lake Cowichan mayor, said. “There were a lot of people who attended the hearings and sent letters. I think it’s worked out pretty well.”
However, some residents weren’t aware that the decision had been made.
“I knew there was talk of it, but I haven paid attention to it,” commented Lake Cowichan resident Pat Egan. “I work so much…I would have dealt with it when the time comes (for the next election).”
The riding now consists of those parts of the Cowichan Valley Regional District comprised of the City of Duncan, the Town of Lake Cowichan, the Municipality of North Cowichan, Cowichan Indian Reserve and Penelakut Island Indian Reserve No. 7, Areas A, B, C, D, E, F and I and part of Area G.
It also consists of part of the Capital Regional District including the Municipality of Highlands, the City of Langford, and part 1 and 2 of subdivision H, but does not include Ladysmith or the Saltair part of Area G.
The province will gain six electoral districts as a result of an increase in population. The island region gains one new electoral district, with numerous shifts in boundaries around the island.
— with files from the
News Leader Pictorial