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New Greater Victoria riding and changes to current boundaries recommended for next BC election

Multiple adjustments to local population growth in latest BC Electoral Boundaries Committee report

By Cameron Welch
April 3, 2023
Politics
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

New Greater Victoria riding and changes to current boundaries recommended for next BC election

Multiple adjustments to local population growth in latest BC Electoral Boundaries Committee report

By Cameron Welch
Apr 3, 2023
Current = grey / Preliminary proposal = lilac / Final proposal = purple. Gifs created from BC Electoral Boundaries Committee maps
Current = grey / Preliminary proposal = lilac / Final proposal = purple. Gifs created from BC Electoral Boundaries Committee maps
Politics
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

New Greater Victoria riding and changes to current boundaries recommended for next BC election

Multiple adjustments to local population growth in latest BC Electoral Boundaries Committee report

By Cameron Welch
April 3, 2023
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New Greater Victoria riding and changes to current boundaries recommended for next BC election
Current = grey / Preliminary proposal = lilac / Final proposal = purple. Gifs created from BC Electoral Boundaries Committee maps

A new more urban Westshore electoral district, Langford-Highlands, has been recommended in Monday’s final report of the BC Electoral Boundaries Committee, along with four in the Lower Mainland and one in the Interior. The committee is convened every second general election cycle to recommend riding changes. The main goals are having electoral districts (also known colloquially as ridings) make sense and keeping their populations—and in turn the impact of each vote—relatively similar. 

The current Langford-Juan de Fuca riding, held by John Horgan until last Friday and now due for by-election, has an estimated population of 70,000. That’s well above the target of around 54,000 people per riding, and one of just six BC ridings that were at least 25% above. This essentially made its residents’ votes less impactful than elsewhere in BC, although this was offset in recent years by its MLA being the premier.

The new electoral quotient (per-district average) is 53,773 people, with a usual deviation range (25% in either direction) of 40,330 to 67,216 people. This new and more urban Westshore riding would have an estimated 49,110 people. With Langford ranked the fastest-growing city in BC and third-fastest in the country by Statistics Canada a year ago, this riding has been given some breathing room to add more people.   

A new Westshore riding emerges. Current = grey / Preliminary proposal = lilac / Final proposal = dark purple.

This change, and local population growth, would spur several other shifts:

Esquimalt-Colwood: Vic West would split from Victoria to join Esquimalt and Colwood in a 58,000-person riding. Last fall the Committee wrote that it heard from the community that Victoria West is more aligned with its Gorge Waterway neighbours than with Victoria.

Juan de Fuca-Malahat: A new more rural southwest-Island riding. Metchosin would split from Esquimalt, and Malahat communities such as Shawnigan Lake would split from Cowichan. Together, they would join Juan de Fuca, Sooke, and Port Renfrew in a 45,000-person riding. 

Vic West joins Colwood and Esquimalt

There is another smaller local change, on the Peninsula. A new spur of Saanich South’s northern border would jut upward and take part of Saanich North and the Islands. In the preliminary proposal from last year that part was going to be Brentwood Bay, but in the final proposal it is the eastern part of Central Saanich. 

Central Saanich had written a letter to the committee to argue against Brentwood being merged south in the effort to reduce Saanich North’s 62,000+ size. Mayor Ryan Windsor wrote that the “cultural identity of the village is pulled northward” and that it was not right to split away the Tsartlip people who live there. In the new map Brentwood remains with the North, as requested, but a large chunk of the rest of Central Saanich has become Saanich South. That eastern section is east of Oldfield and goes up to Island View Beach Regional Park.

North vs. South Saanich border. Current = grey / Preliminary proposal = lilac / Final proposal = dark purple.

There are also minor changes to the way that riding boundaries’ extensions into the ocean are drawn.

East Island and Mainland changes 

The new map departs from both the current Nanaimo-area ridings and the prior proposal for them. It creates two coastal and relatively urban ridings for Nanaimo: the more northern Nanaimo-Lantzville and more southern Nanaimo-Gabriola. Nearby, Chemainus joins Cowichan Valley while the former Parksville-Qualicum riding loops around Nanaimo to take on Ladysmith and the more inland parts of the former Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding; together these become Ladysmith-Oceanside

Nanaimo-area changes.

There are boundary changes throughout the Lower Mainland and new ridings in Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby, and Langley. The Committee changed course from last year in how it added the new Central interior riding, settling on something closer to the current map and adding a new Kelowna Centre riding that merges previously split-up parts of the fast-growing city. Redrawn borders also made Kamloops Centre a similar geographically small urban riding.

The proposed Island ridings for next election

About the committee

According to legislation implemented in June 2021, the committee must include a Supreme Court or Court of Appeal judge; BC’s current chief electoral officer; and a third member recommended by the Speaker of the House, the premier, and the leader of the opposition. In October 2021 the government appointed Justice Nitya Iyer, BC’s chief electoral officer Anton Boegman, and Kootenays-area local government advisor Linda Tynan.

The committee’s work is now over, and it is up to the BC Legislature to approve or alter these recommendations. 

You can read more, and test the interactive map of changes, at the Committee site.

No new Island riding recommended on federal level

This recommendation comes after the Island was denied a new riding in the federal electoral boundaries recommendations released last spring. That report acknowledged rapid growth in Greater Victoria and Nanaimo, but went instead with an addition in the Okanagan due to the major growth of Kelowna. 

With no extra riding, Greater Victoria growth would mainly be dealt with federally by having Saanich-Gulf Islands absorb more of the Saanich peninsula from Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke. The Victoria borders would not be changed, and Cowichan-Malahat-Langford would get only minor adjustments.

With files from Zoë Ducklow

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Cameron Welch
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