British Columbia Electoral Boundaries Commission
Final Report - September 24, 2015

Septmber 24, 2015

Honourable Linda Reid
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly
Province of British Columbia
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, British Columbia
V8V 1X4

Dear Madame Speaker:

We have the pleasure to submit our Final Report in accordance with section 12(1) of the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act.

Respectfully,

The Hon. Mr. Justice Thomas J. Melnick
Commission Chair

Beverley Busson, O.B.C.
Commissioner

Keith Archer, Ph.D.
Chief Electoral Officer
Commissioner

Table of contents

Table of contents

List of figures and tables

List of electoral district maps

Executive summary

Mandate

Process

Proposals

North Region

Cariboo-Thompson Region

Columbia-Kootenay Region

Okanagan/Shuswap

Greater Vancouver

Fraser Valley

Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast

Next steps

Considerations for the Legislative Assembly

Appendices

Appendix A: Population estimates, current 85 electoral districts (2008 Commission)

Appendix B: Population estimates, proposed 87 electoral districts (2015 Commission)

Appendix C: First round public hearings schedule – Fall 2014

Appendix D: Second round public hearings schedule – Spring 2015

Appendix E: Considerations for the Legislative Assembly, data


List of figures and tables

Figure 1: 2015 Electoral Boundaries Commission timeline

Figure 2: Map legend

Table 1: Proposed electoral districts population – North Region

Table 2: Proposed electoral districts population – Cariboo-Thompson Region

Table 3: Proposed electoral districts population – Columbia-Kootenay Region

Table 4: Proposed electoral districts population – Okanagan/Shuswap

Table 5: Proposed electoral districts population – Greater Vancouver

Table 6: Proposed electoral districts population – Fraser Valley

Table 7: Proposed electoral districts population – Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast

Table 8: Defined regions

Table 9: Proposed electoral districts population and area – North Region

Table 10: Proposed electoral districts population and area – Cariboo-Thompson Region

Table 11: Proposed electoral districts population and area – Columbia-Kootenay Region

Table 12: Proposed electoral districts population and area – Okanagan/Shuswap

Table 13: Proposed electoral districts population and area – Greater Vancouver

Table 14: Proposed electoral districts population and area – Fraser Valley

Table 15: Proposed electoral districts population and area – Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast


Appendix A: Population estimates, current 85 electoral districts (2008 Commission)

Appendix B: Population estimates, proposed 87 electoral districts (2015 Commission)

Appendix C: First round public hearings schedule – Fall 2014

Appendix D: Second round public hearings schedule – Spring 2015

Table E.1: Variation in electoral districts for the 1999, 2008 and 2015 Commissions

Table E.2: Variation in electoral districts greater than 25% below average for the 1999, 2008 and 2015 Commissions


List of electoral district maps

Abbotsford-Mission

Abbotsford South

Abbotsford West

Boundary-Similkameen

Burnaby-Deer Lake

Burnaby-Edmonds

Burnaby-Lougheed

Burnaby North

Cariboo-Chilcotin

Cariboo North

Chilliwack

Chilliwack-Kent

Columbia River-Revelstoke

Coquitlam-Burke Mountain

Coquitlam-Maillardville

Courtenay-Comox

Cowichan Valley

Delta North

Delta South

Esquimalt-Metchosin

Fraser-Nicola

Kamloops-North Thompson

Kamloops-South Thompson

Kelowna-Lake Country

Kelowna-Mission

Kelowna West

Kootenay East

Kootenay West

Langford-Juan de Fuca

Langley

Langley East

Maple Ridge-Mission

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows

Mid Island-Pacific Rim

Nanaimo

Nanaimo-North Cowichan

Nechako Lakes

Nelson-Creston

New Westminster

North Coast

North Island

North Vancouver-Lonsdale

North Vancouver-Seymour

Oak Bay-Gordon Head

Parksville-Qualicum

Peace River North

Peace River South

Penticton

Port Coquitlam

Port Moody-Coquitlam

Powell River-Sunshine Coast

Prince George-Mackenzie

Prince George-Valemount

Richmond North Centre

Richmond-Queensborough

Richmond South Centre

Richmond-Steveston

Saanich North and the Islands

Saanich South

Shuswap

Skeena

Stikine

Surrey-Cloverdale

Surrey-Fleetwood

Surrey-Green Timbers

Surrey-Guildford

Surrey-Newton

Surrey-Panorama

Surrey South

Surrey-Whalley

Surrey-White Rock

Vancouver-Fairview

Vancouver-False Creek

Vancouver-Fraserview

Vancouver-Hastings

Vancouver-Kensington

Vancouver-Kingsway

Vancouver-Langara

Vancouver-Mount Pleasant

Vancouver-Point Grey

Vancouver-Quilchena

Vancouver-West End

Vernon-Monashee

Victoria-Beacon Hill

Victoria-Swan Lake

West Vancouver-Capilano

West Vancouver-Sea to Sky

Executive summary

All British Columbians are represented in the Legislative Assembly by a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). There are currently 85 MLAs to represent the constituents of the 85 provincial electoral districts. In theory, in accordance with the principle of representation by population, each MLA should, to the degree possible, represent a similar number of constituents.

Recognizing that population growth is not uniform throughout the province, periodic reviews of the boundaries ensure that the representation of constituents by MLAs remains equitable and effective in all areas of the province. As prescribed by the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, a new electoral boundaries commission must be established after every second general election to propose changes to the area, boundaries and names of the electoral districts of British Columbia.

Our commission was appointed on May 9, 2014. We are:

We began our duties by educating ourselves about the nature and process of assessing and setting electoral boundaries, and the history of electoral boundaries commissions in the province. It was important not to form early opinions about where any of the electoral district boundaries should be. We wanted to keep an open mind and first hear from British Columbians about their opinions regarding the current electoral districts, and what changes, if any, they would suggest.

Between September and November 2014 we travelled the province, visiting 29 communities and hearing from 128 presenters. We received an additional 295 written submissions, largely through our website, during this same period. All of this input was very helpful in understanding how British Columbians interact with their elected representatives and how the electoral boundaries affect and enable these interactions and effective representation.

Since the Preliminary Report

We submitted our Preliminary Report containing our initial proposals to the Legislative Assembly on March 26, 2015. In April and May we looked again to British Columbians to provide their opinions on our proposals either online or at one of our hearings. We heard from 144 presenters at 15 community hearings and received 426 written submissions.

The majority of the public input we received was regarding three areas: Hope and the Fraser Canyon, Surrey, and the Comox Valley. Opinions were split whether Hope is the gateway to the Interior and therefore belongs in the Fraser-Nicola electoral district, or whether it is the gateway to the Fraser Valley and therefore belongs in an electoral district with Chilliwack. The Fleetwood community of Surrey was very vocal regarding the need to maintain the core of the Fleetwood neighbourhood, including Fleetwood Park and Fleetwood Park Secondary School, in Surrey-Fleetwood. In addition to requests to keep Courtenay and Comox together, we also heard from the community of Cumberland regarding its strong ties to Courtenay and Comox. We propose placing Hope and the Fraser Canyon in Fraser-Nicola, re-establishing Fleetwood Park and Fleetwood Park Secondary School in Surrey-Fleetwood, and making Cumberland an anchor community of the Mid Island-Pacific Rim electoral district.

Our final proposals also differ from the preliminary proposals in the electoral districts of Shuswap, Vernon-Monashee, Vancouver-Point Grey, Vancouver-Quilchena, West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, Surrey-Cloverdale, Surrey-Fleetwood, Langley, Langley East, Abbotsford West, Abbotsford South, Abbotsford-Mission, Chilliwack, Chilliwack-Kent, Nanaimo, and Nanaimo-North Cowichan.

Our final proposals

We considered all of the input received in the fall and spring before producing our final proposals.Our final proposals contain changes to 48 of the current 85 districts, while also proposing two additional electoral districts in Richmond and Surrey. Most of the changes are relatively minor, including adjustments to better align the boundaries to roads, administrative boundaries and natural geographic features.

Substantial changes are proposed in the Lower Mainland, particularly in Richmond and Surrey where we added a district to each community. These changes are summarized below. More detail about all the changes, along with maps of our proposed electoral districts are contained in the Proposals section of this report. An interactive map of current and proposed electoral districts is available on the commission website (www.bc-ebc.ca).

In making our proposals we are guided first and foremost by the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We considered all of the input received from British Columbians about the existing boundaries and where they felt change was warranted. Reflecting upon their input, we developed additional guidelines flowing from the legislation that would assist our decision-making within this framework.

Amendments to the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act in May 2014 defined three regions of the province (the North Region, the Cariboo-Thompson Region, and the Columbia-Kootenay Region) in which the number of electoral districts cannot be reduced from their current number. This has, of course, influenced in large measure our ability to propose electoral districts that are equal in population. It has also influenced our decision to propose 87 electoral districts, an increase of two from the current number, and the maximum allowable under the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act.

According to the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, these final proposals must be submitted to the Legislative Assembly by September 25, 2015 – six months after the submission of the Preliminary Report. The proposals contained in this report are recommendations. The final decision regarding adoption of our proposals lies with the Members of the Legislative Assembly. With the submission of this report the work of the commission is complete.

Substantial changes

Surrey

Link to proposed Surrey substantial changes map

Richmond/New Westminster

Link to proposed Richmond/New Westminster substantial changes map

Hope and Princeton

Link to proposed Hope and Princeton substantial changes map

Comox Valley and mid-Vancouver Island

Link to proposed Comox Valley and mid-Vancouver Island substantial changes map

Other communities in which changes are proposed:


The following tables show the population and deviation from the provincial average in each of our proposed electoral districts.

Table 1: Proposed electoral districts population – North Region1

Electoral district

Population

Deviation
(%)

Stikine

20,616

-61.2

Peace River North

43,263

-18.6

Peace River South

28,104

-47.1

Prince George-Valemount

48,267

-9.1

Prince George-Mackenzie

46,894

-11.7

Nechako Lakes

27,692

-47.9

Skeena

30,240

-43.1

North Coast

22,382

-57.9

Table 2: Proposed electoral districts population – Cariboo-Thompson Region

Electoral district

Population

Deviation
(%)

Cariboo North

29,542

-44.4

Cariboo-Chilcotin

33,520

-36.9

Kamloops-North Thompson

54,014

1.7

Kamloops-South Thompson

56,410

6.2

Fraser-Nicola

34,034

-35.9

Table 3: Proposed electoral districts population – Columbia-Kootenay Region

Electoral district

Population

Deviation
(%)

Kootenay West

41,302

-22.2

Nelson-Creston

36,907

-30.5

Kootenay East

40,466

-23.8

Columbia River-Revelstoke

31,907

-39.9

Table 4: Proposed electoral districts population – Okanagan/Shuswap

Electoral district

Population

Deviation
(%)

Shuswap

56,352

6.1

Vernon-Monashee

62,106

16.9

Kelowna-Lake Country

61,113

15.0

Kelowna West

59,750

12.5

Kelowna-Mission

60,403

13.7

Penticton

56,722

6.8

Boundary-Similkameen

42,340

-20.3

Table 5: Proposed electoral districts population – Greater Vancouver

Electoral district

Population

Deviation
(%)

Vancouver-Point Grey

60,611

14.1

Vancouver-Quilchena

59,953

12.9

Vancouver-Fairview

59,701

12.4

Vancouver-Langara

60,041

13.0

Vancouver-Kensington

61,250

15.3

Vancouver-Fraserview

62,885

18.4

Vancouver-Kingsway

62,459

17.6

Vancouver-Hastings

59,491

12.0

Vancouver-Mount Pleasant

58,041

9.3

Vancouver-False Creek

57,261

7.8

Vancouver-West End

57,287

7.8

West Vancouver-Sea to Sky

55,129

3.8

West Vancouver-Capilano

57,173

7.6

North Vancouver-Lonsdale

57,431

8.1

North Vancouver-Seymour

58,120

9.4

Port Moody-Coquitlam

59,355

11.7

Coquitlam-Burke Mountain

59,029

11.1

Port Coquitlam

60,813

14.5

Coquitlam-Maillardville

58,351

9.8

Burnaby-Lougheed

59,797

12.6

Burnaby North

58,159

9.5

Burnaby-Deer Lake

58,195

9.6

Burnaby-Edmonds

60,439

13.8

New Westminster

61,422

15.6

Richmond-Queensborough

55,627

4.7

Richmond North Centre

49,157

-7.5

Richmond South Centre

50,101

-5.7

Richmond-Steveston

55,539

4.6

Delta South

47,577

-10.4

Delta North

55,011

3.6

Surrey-Whalley

58,668

10.4

Surrey-Guildford

58,037

9.3

Surrey-Cloverdale

59,649

12.3

Surrey-Fleetwood

60,477

13.9

Surrey-Green Timbers

58,816

10.7

Surrey-Newton

58,340

9.8

Surrey-Panorama

60,128

13.2

Surrey South

57,746

8.7

Surrey-White Rock

58,588

10.3

Table 6: Proposed electoral districts population – Fraser Valley

Electoral district

Population

Deviation
(%)

Langley

59,812

12.6

Langley East

61,576

15.9

Abbotsford South

61,997

16.7

Abbotsford West

60,339

13.6

Abbotsford-Mission

60,962

14.8

Chilliwack

49,089

-7.6

Chilliwack-Kent

51,021

-3.9

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows

58,287

9.7

Maple Ridge-Mission

58,697

10.5

Table 7: Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast

Electoral district

Population

Deviation
(%)

Powell River-Sunshine Coast

50,039

-5.8

North Island

55,633

4.7

Courtenay-Comox

54,816

3.2

Mid Island-Pacific Rim

52,833

-0.5

Parksville-Qualicum

54,089

1.8

Nanaimo

57,008

7.3

Nanaimo-North Cowichan

52,414

-1.3

Cowichan Valley

59,232

11.5

Saanich North and the Islands

56,492

6.3

Saanich South

51,661

-2.7

Victoria-Swan Lake

51,569

-2.9

Oak Bay-Gordon Head

55,689

4.8

Victoria-Beacon Hill

54,707

3.0

Esquimalt-Metchosin

51,450

-3.1

Langford-Juan de Fuca

51,782

-2.5


Mandate

Commission

After every second provincial general election, a new electoral boundaries commission is appointed to propose changes to the provincial electoral boundaries.

Under the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, the British Columbia Electoral Boundaries Commission must consist of:

One of these individuals must be appointed as Chair.

On May 9, 2014, our three-person, independent, non-partisan electoral boundaries commission was appointed. Our commissioners are:

Mandate

Our function is to make proposals to the Legislative Assembly as to the area, boundaries, and names of provincial electoral districts. If our deliberations dictate that the number of electoral districts should be increased, the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act allows us to make proposals for up to two additional electoral districts, to a maximum of 87. We cannot recommend fewer than 85 electoral districts. The Legislative Assembly is responsible for approving or amending our proposals before they are passed into law.

Electoral Boundaries Commission Act

In carrying out our mandate, we are guided by the requirements of the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act which sets out the process for reviewing the area, boundaries and names of electoral districts in British Columbia.

When developing our proposals, section 9(1) of the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act instructs us to be governed by the following:

Representation by population: Method of using population as the primary factor in determining electoral districts with relatively equal population in each district.


Electoral quotient (the provincial average): The provincial population divided by the number of current electoral districts.


Deviation: Electoral district population above or below the electoral quotient.


As an exception to these principles, the Act defines three regions of the province in which, for the purpose of effective representation in the Legislative Assembly, the number of electoral districts may not be reduced from their current number. For this purpose we are permitted to exceed the +/- 25% population deviation rule.

Table 8: Defined regions

Defined region

Electoral districts within region

Cariboo-Thompson Region

Cariboo North

Cariboo-Chilcotin

Fraser-Nicola

Kamloops-North Thompson

Kamloops-South Thompson

Columbia-Kootenay Region

Columbia River-Revelstoke

Kootenay East

Kootenay West

Nelson-Creston

North Region

Nechako Lakes

North Coast

Peace River North

Peace River South

Prince George-Mackenzie

Prince George-Valemount

Skeena

Stikine


Section 9(2) of the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act requires us to take into account the following additional factors when making our proposals for all electoral districts:

The right to vote and population equality

The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in the Saskatchewan Reference2 in 1991 provides considerable guidance to electoral boundaries commissions as to the standard for relative equality of voting power among citizens. Section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides that all citizens have the right to vote in periodic elections, and the right to be a candidate for elective office. The question for the Court, in examining the implications of this right for electoral boundaries, was whether the right to vote meant that citizens had the right to vote in electoral districts that were comprised of populations equal in size or whether some variation from equality was permissible, and, if variation from equality was permissible, what was the limit of permissible variation.

It is notable that courts in the United States have interpreted voting rights as requiring almost no deviation from population equality among electoral districts. In the words of Professor John Courtney, “the Supreme Court of Canada’s sole decision on electoral boundary readjustments (i.e., the Saskatchewan Reference case) deliberately eschewed strict American notions of voter equality. In its place the court advanced the notions of ‘relative equality of voting power,’ ‘better government,’ and ‘effective representation’” as the core principles used in boundary readjustment in Canada (Courtney, Commissioned Ridings, 2001, pp. 151-2).

The meaning of the right to vote was discussed in considerable detail by the Supreme Court in the Saskatchewan Reference. Writing for the majority, Madam Justice McLachlin stated,

the purpose of the right to vote enshrined in s. 3 of the Charter is not equality of voting power per se, but the right to “effective representation”. Ours is a representative democracy. Each citizen is entitled to be represented in government (p. 183).

The Court then went on to ask,

What are the conditions of effective representation? The first is relative parity of voting power. A system which dilutes one citizen’s vote unduly as compared with another citizen’s vote runs the risk of providing inadequate representation to the citizen whose vote is diluted…. The result will be uneven and unfair representation
(pp. 183-4).

However, the Court continued, equality of voting power is not the only factor that affects effective representation. First, this is the case because strict equality of voting power is not achievable, since there is continuous change to the electorate. In addition,

factors like geography, community history, community interests and minority representation may need to be taken into account to ensure that our legislative assemblies effectively represent the diversity of our social mosaic (p. 184).

The Court did not directly take up the question in the Saskatchewan Reference of whether there are absolute limits on variations in electoral district populations when taking into account these other factors of representation, such as geography, community history and the like. However, the Court did review the limits as then outlined in the Saskatchewan Electoral Boundaries Commission Act. The Act provided for the creation of 66 electoral districts. Of these, 64 were urban and rural districts in the southern half of the province, and two were rural districts in the northern half of the province. The 64 southern districts were required to have a variation within +/- 25% of the provincial electoral quotient, and the two northern districts could be as much as 50% below the electoral quotient.

The Court found that the electoral maps, based on these legislative requirements, provided effective representation, and thus did not violate section 3 of the Charter. Thus, effective representation, which is the purpose of the right to vote, is provided when electoral districts contain relative equality of voting (that is, where variation generally is within +/- 25% deviation from average, and possibly greater where special or unusual circumstances require). Deviations from population equality provide a capacity to take into account other factors important in effective representation, such as geography, community history, community interests, minority representation, or other factors relevant to the locality.

Effective representation

In May 2014, the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia passed the Electoral Boundaries Commission Amendment Act, 2014. This revised Electoral Boundaries Commission Act defined three regions, including the North Region (with eight electoral districts), the Cariboo-Thompson Region (with five electoral districts), and the Columbia-Kootenay Region (with four electoral districts). These regions comprise much of the remote and rural areas of British Columbia, characterized by relatively large geographical areas and relatively small populations. In general, population growth has been lower in these regions than in the province as a whole.

The Electoral Boundaries Commission Act provides in general that electoral districts should have a population within +/- 25% of the provincial electoral quotient, although it also provides that in very special circumstances, an electoral district can have a population outside this range. The Act further provides that in the three defined regions, variations can be outside the +/- 25% range.

The populations in the three defined regions are presented in Tables 1-3 (p. 8). As can be seen in Table 1, the population in the North Region (based on 87 electoral districts, and using 2014 population estimates), is 267,458. The average electoral district in the North Region has a population of 33,432, which is 37.1% below the average electoral district population in British Columbia as a whole (53,119). In the Cariboo-Thompson Region (Table 2), total population is 207,466 and the average electoral district population is 41,493, which is 21.9% below the average electoral district in British Columbia. Table 3 shows that in the Columbia-Kootenay Region, the total population for the four electoral districts is 150,582, for an average of 37,646, which is 29.1% below the average electoral district in British Columbia.

It is evident that the defined regions each will have a number of electoral districts more than 25% below the provincial electoral quotient. Tables 1 to 3 illustrate the extent of the variation in these regions. In the North Region, two of the electoral districts have populations more than 50% below the provincial average, three districts are between 25% and 50% below average, and three districts are between +/- 25% from the provincial average. In the Cariboo-Thompson Region, three of the electoral districts are between 25% and 50% below the provincial average, whereas the other two districts are within the +/- 25% variation (and in fact are both slightly over the provincial average population). In the Columbia-Kootenay Region, two districts are between 25% and 50% below average and two are within the +/- 25% range.

Timeline

Figure 1: 2015 Electoral Boundaries Commission timeline

Link to 2015 Electoral Boundaries Commission timeline

Under the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, a new electoral boundaries commission must be appointed one year after every second provincial general election. Our commission was formed on May 9, 2014.

We began our duties by developing work plans and educating ourselves over the summer about the nature and process of electoral boundary setting. We invited experts to brief us on subjects such as electoral boundaries legislation, the role of electoral districts in election administration, the evolution of electoral boundaries in British Columbia, and demographics and population statistics.

At the beginning of September 2014, following our learning phase, we established our website and, on our website, began soliciting input from British Columbians regarding their opinions about the current electoral districts and if and where they thought changes were required. We also held a series of public hearings in 29 communities across the province between September 22 and November 7 to hear from British Columbians who were able to attend in-person. The public input period, during which submissions could also be made through the website and by mail, closed at midnight on November 16.

We subsequently met to consider all of the public input and begin our deliberations. Our intent was to first hear from British Columbians about their opinions of the current electoral districts and their recommendations before we turned our attention to developing our proposals.

After reviewing all public input we deliberated and finalized our preliminary proposals for the number of electoral districts and the area, boundaries and names for each electoral district in our Preliminary Report submitted to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly on March 26, 2015.

Following the submission of the Preliminary Report, we once again turned to the public for their input. This time we asked British Columbians to voice their opinions about our proposals. Submissions were made through our website or at one of our public hearings held in 15 communities across the province between April 14 and May 26. According to the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, following the public hearings and the close of the public input period, we gave MLAs an additional opportunity to make oral submissions to us. We held two hearings in Victoria for MLAs on May 27. While these hearings were open to public attendance, submissions could only be made by Members. Upon consideration of all input, we deliberated and present our final proposals in this report.

Process

Data

We are relying on 2014 population estimates and projections from BC Stats to draw our proposed electoral boundaries. These estimates are based on the 2011 census count, which is the most recent and reliable population data. The 2014 population estimates show that as of May 10, 2014 3, there are 4,621,394 people in British Columbia, an increase of nine percent since the current boundaries were established in 2008. This growth, however, has been uneven across the province.

Electoral quotient

The electoral quotient is the average population per electoral district and is calculated by dividing the provincial population by the number of electoral districts.

Absent a finding of very special circumstances, the population of each of our proposed electoral districts outside of the defined regions is permitted to deviate from the electoral quotient by no more than +/- 25%. That is, each electoral district’s population must be no more than 25% under the provincial average and no more than 25% above the provincial average. The greater the number of electoral districts, the smaller the electoral quotient (or average population per district) will be and the smaller the electoral quotient, the smaller the permissible range will be.

We are permitted to propose between 85 and 87 electoral districts. We conclude that 87 electoral districts are necessary to ensure the effective representation of all British Columbians and recognize the growth in the more densely populated Lower Mainland.

With 87 electoral districts, the electoral quotient is 53,119.

Deviation and “very special circumstances”

Based on an electoral quotient of 53,119 we may make proposals for electoral districts with populations as high as 66,399 (25% above the electoral quotient) and as low as 39,839 (25% below the electoral quotient), while maintaining relative parity of voter power. As an exception to this requirement, the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act permits electoral districts within the three defined regions to be beyond +/- 25%.

The Act also allows us to exceed the minimum and maximum population size where very special circumstances exist. All of our proposed electoral districts outside of the defined regions are within +/- 25%.

Approach

We developed the following guidelines based on the principles established by legislation to further assist our decision-making process.

Because we wanted to consider the historic configuration of our province’s electoral districts, we took the existing boundaries into consideration. Based on what we heard from people across the province, we concluded that we should propose changes to these boundaries only where logical and necessary.

We tried to balance the populations of electoral districts in the same area or municipality where possible, in an effort to ensure effective representation.

Natural boundaries such as rivers, heights of land, rights of way, parks and major highways make good electoral district boundaries as well because they typically divide communities and provide clear demarcations between distinct areas. We tried to use such natural boundaries as electoral district boundaries where possible.

We also strived to align electoral district boundaries with municipal boundaries and sought to avoid splitting local jurisdictions such as cities or towns across multiple electoral districts. In densely populated areas this was not always possible. In those communities we tried to draw boundaries that followed neighbourhoods and attempted to keep like-communities together.

In sparsely populated areas of the province we sought to use other existing jurisdictional boundaries. We were told during the public input period that using regional district, electoral area, and school district boundaries helps to eliminate voter confusion as these are boundaries with which many people are familiar. However, at times population imbalances among adjoining electoral districts led us to deviate from a rigid application of this principle.

We also considered the impact of our decisions on First Nations communities. We tried to avoid splitting reserves and when possible we endeavoured to propose boundaries that would not split bands or nations.

In order to respect the role of the public in providing feedback to our proposals, we chose not to introduce substantial changes to our preliminary proposals in this Final Report that were not raised in our Preliminary Report or during the public hearings.

The consideration of these guidelines, together with the considered judgment of the commission, has produced the electoral boundaries recommended in this Final Report.

Proposals

A consistent message from the public in both the fall and the spring public input periods was that change should be made only where necessary. Many of the presenters at our public hearings were content with their current electoral district boundaries and were satisfied with their level of representation, even if the population of their electoral district was well above or well below the provincial average. Relative parity of voting power was not as significant to most of these British Columbians as simply feeling well represented. We agree that changes to the existing boundaries should be made only where necessary and this guideline is reflected in our proposals.

More than 40% of the existing electoral districts are not changed under our proposal. Because the number of electoral districts in the three defined regions cannot be reduced, those regions saw very little change. More substantial changes are proposed in the Lower Mainland to address communities that have grown much faster than the rest of the province and where electoral districts are more than 25% over the provincial average. An additional district has been added in each of Richmond and Surrey in response to exceptional growth in these two communities and also in the case of Richmond, results in the combination of some of its population with the Queensborough residents of New Westminster. Outside of the Lower Mainland, our proposals contain more modest changes that are intended largely to rebalance populations within communities while also providing for the representation of communities of interest.

This Final Report also contains a number of minor adjustments to 16 electoral districts to better align the boundaries to roads, administrative boundaries and natural geographic features.4 None of these changes alter the character or population of the electoral district and many of the changes are not even visible on our maps. Where these adjustments have not altered the population of an electoral district they are not counted in this report as an electoral district to which we have proposed changes.

Of our final proposed 87 electoral districts, only 17 vary from the provincial average by less than +/- 5%. Nearly half of all districts (40) are within +/- 10% of the provincial average, and three-quarters (66) are within +/- 15% of the average. Ten electoral districts, all located in one of the three defined regions, have populations more than 25% below the provincial average. None have populations more than 25% above the provincial average. Within the context of the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, we believe that these boundaries will provide British Columbians in all areas of the province with effective representation.

Figure 2: Map legend

Link to Map legend

North Region

The electoral districts within the area defined by the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act as the North Region are vast in size but are sparsely populated. For example, the Stikine electoral district is almost 200,000 square kilometres, but has a population of only 20,616 – more than 61% below the provincial average. Although the population of six of the eight North Region electoral districts are well below the -25% deviation, the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act exempts the districts in the three defined regions from this standard, and requires that the number of electoral districts in the North Region not be reduced. We were reminded regularly during the public input period by those living in the North Region of the accessibility challenges presented by the geography, transportation routes and weather, and of the impact these challenges have on MLAs and constituents travelling to meet with each other. These challenges were particularly significant outside of the larger population centres of the region. The vast majority of the input we received from the public about this region argued that there is no need for change.

We propose no changes to: Stikine, Peace River North, Peace River South, Nechako Lakes, Skeena and North Coast.

Prince George

In contrast to the public input received about most of the North Region, the commission received a number of requests in the fall during the first round of public input to adjust the boundaries of the two electoral districts around Prince George. Prince George is the North Region’s largest urban centre with a population of 74,133 people. It largely is made up of three communities: the Hart, the Bowl and College Heights. Those who spoke to us about these communities explained each is distinct and should not be split across multiple districts. We determined it is important to keep entire communities of interest in the same electoral district where possible and have adjusted the boundaries of Prince George-Valemount and Prince George-Mackenzie where they divide the City of Prince George.

Instead of following Highway 97 through the centre of Prince George, dividing the Hart neighbourhood, the new boundary follows the Fraser and Nechako rivers to the John Hart Bridge, thereby placing the entire Hart neighbourhood in Prince George-Mackenzie. We have also avoided splitting the College Heights neighbourhood by moving the boundary from Highway 16 and instead follow major roads west of Highway 16, and University Way and Tyner Boulevard. This change places the entire College Heights neighbourhood in Prince George-Valemount.

Table 9: Proposed electoral districts population and area – North Region5

Link to North Region map

Electoral district

Population

Deviation
(%)

Area
(sq km)

Stikine (link to map)

20,616

-61.2

196,484

Peace River North (link to map)

43,263

-18.6

175,813

Peace River South (link to map)

28,104

-47.1

30,364

Prince George-Valemount (link to map)

48,267

-9.1

31,467

Prince George-Mackenzie (link to map)

46,894

-11.7

20,511

Nechako Lakes (link to map)

27,692

-47.9

73,797

Skeena (link to map)

30,240

-43.1

31,610

North Coast (link to map)

22,382

-57.9

143,864


Cariboo-Thompson Region

The Cariboo-Thompson is the second of the three defined regions which cannot have the number of electoral districts reduced. It includes the districts of Cariboo North, Cariboo-Chilcotin, Kamloops-North Thompson, Kamloops-South Thompson, and Fraser-Nicola. It shares many of the accessibility challenges seen in the North Region. While the Cariboo-Thompson Region contains the City of Kamloops, a dense urban centre with a high rate of growth, it also contains many smaller and slower growing towns and rural communities spread across a very large geographic area.

The residents of this region who provided input to the commission were largely seeking little to no change. We heard that the current configuration of districts makes sense and respects the transportation and communication linkages that exist between like-minded communities in this region.

We propose no change to Kamloops-North Thompson, small changes to Cariboo North, Cariboo-Chilcotin and Kamloops-South Thompson, and substantial changes to Fraser-Nicola.

Williams Lake

Williams Lake is one of the major urban centres of the Cariboo area (the other being Quesnel) and is located on the border between the Cariboo North and Cariboo-Chilcotin electoral districts. While Williams Lake is largely within the Cariboo-Chilcotin electoral district, the existing boundary follows Highway 97 through the city resulting in a small portion of the city on the north east side of the highway being in the Cariboo North electoral district. We heard from the public that it would be logical from a community of interest perspective to reunite Williams Lake in a single electoral district. We were therefore persuaded that this community of interest should exist in one electoral district.

The community of 150 Mile House and the Sugar Cane Reserve belonging to the T’exelcemc (Williams Lake Band) are located just east of the City of Williams Lake, but are on the other side of the boundary between Cariboo-Chilcotin and Cariboo North. We decided that the Sugar Cane Reserve and 150 Mile House should be located within the same electoral district as the City of Williams Lake.

By following the municipality boundary and part of the Cariboo Electoral Area D boundary we were able to unite the entire City of Williams Lake, the airport, and all of the reserves of the T’exelcemc in Cariboo-Chilcotin with the exception of the Tillion Reserve west of Williams Lake. We deviated from the Cariboo Electoral Area D boundary in order to include the community of 150 Mile House.

Kamloops area

We have made some alterations to the boundary between Kamloops-South Thompson and Fraser-Nicola south of Knutsford to include more of the community around Knutsford in the Kamloops-South Thompson electoral district. This change respects the stronger ties the residents in this community have to Kamloops than to Merritt which is much farther south. The change also provides more effective representation to the community between Campbell Creek and Thompson-Nicola Regional District Electoral Area J, approximately 5km south of the Kamloops municipal border.

Hope

The placement of Hope and the Fraser Canyon communities was widely discussed in the public input. Hope has historically been included in what was known for many years as the Yale-Lillooet electoral district, but was moved into a Fraser Valley electoral district in 2008. In both the first and the second rounds of public input, presenters and online submitters alike debated whether these communities had stronger ties to the Fraser Valley or the Cariboo-Thompson.

Those in favour of Hope remaining in a Fraser Valley electoral district pointed to their inclusion in the Fraser Valley Regional District and Hope’s relationship with Chilliwack as the regional hub where citizens do their shopping and receive services. Those in favour of Hope and the Fraser Canyon communities returning to the Cariboo-Thompson highlighted the differences between the urbanizing, high growth, agricultural-based Fraser Valley and the more rural, resource and tourism-focused Cariboo-Thompson. They argued these communities were more closely matched to the character of the Cariboo-Thompson. In the first round of public input a majority of the comments favoured Hope’s inclusion in a Cariboo-Thompson Region electoral district. Submissions in response to our preliminary proposals were split as to the appropriate placement of Hope and the Fraser Canyon. We believe that the residents of Hope and the Fraser Canyon would be equally well represented in either the Fraser Valley or the Interior and neither side’s arguments are more compelling.

Therefore, we turned our attention to the impact our decision would have on the populations of Fraser-Nicola and the surrounding electoral districts. While the population of Fraser-Nicola is beyond the ordinarily allowable -25% deviation from the provincial average, the electoral district is in a defined region and permitted to deviate beyond that amount. However, to remove Hope and the Fraser Canyon from Fraser-Nicola (given our decision to place Princeton area communities in Boundary-Similkameen) would result in its deviation from the provincial average being -48.4%. We consider this deviation to be too great for an electoral district in this part of the province. Therefore, we propose an electoral district of Fraser-Nicola that includes Hope and the Fraser Canyon communities.

In the south-west, the boundary of Fraser-Nicola has been extended west largely to follow the Fraser Valley Electoral Area B boundary to include Hope and the Fraser Canyon communities. We varied from the electoral area boundary around the Lukseetsissum 9 Reserve in order to keep all of the Yale First Nation reserves in Fraser-Nicola.

Princeton

The addition of Hope and the Fraser Canyon communities to Fraser-Nicola enables us to address another issue to the south-east of Fraser-Nicola in Boundary-Similkameen. Boundary-Similkameen is more than 25% below the provincial average and is not in a defined region. Therefore, we have moved the western boundary of Boundary-Similkameen farther west so that it now includes Princeton and the small communities around it (for more on this change see page 50).

To the south-west, the Fraser-Nicola boundary now largely follows the western boundary of the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District. It varies from this regional district boundary to follow the northern and eastern boundary of Manning Park.

Table 10: Proposed electoral districts population and area – Cariboo-Thompson Region

Link to Cariboo-Thompson Region map

Electoral district

Population

Deviation (%)

Area
(sq km)

Cariboo North (link to map)

29,542

-44.4

38,579

Cariboo-Chilcotin (link to map)

33,520

-36.9

44,512

Kamloops-North Thompson (link to map)

54,014

1.7

21,642

Kamloops-South Thompson (link to map)

56,410

6.2

2,436

Fraser-Nicola (link to map)

34,034

-35.9

34,830


Columbia-Kootenay Region

The third defined region, Columbia-Kootenay, is a geographically large but sparsely populated area made up of four electoral districts: Columbia River-Revelstoke, Kootenay East, Nelson-Creston and Kootenay West. We were told that the electoral districts in this region are difficult to represent due to the physical geography and challenging transportation routes. Despite these challenges, submissions and presentations from residents of the Columbia-Kootenay Region indicated satisfaction with their electoral boundaries and the majority indicated there are no significant changes that could provide more effective representation.

We propose no changes to the Kootenay West or Nelson-Creston electoral districts and a small change to the boundary between Kootenay East and Columbia River-Revelstoke.

Cranbrook area

At our public hearing in Cranbrook we were advised of an issue south-east of Cranbrook where the use of the Kootenay River as an electoral district boundary has the consequence of placing communities on either side of the river, that have close ties to one another and to Cranbrook, in different electoral districts. Students from Wardner on the west bank and Bull River and Fort Steele on the east bank attend the same secondary school in Cranbrook. However, as Wardner is in Kootenay East and Bull River and Fort Steele are in Columbia River-Revelstoke, young people in this area don’t have a shared political experience and some believed this led them to be less likely to participate in the electoral process.

By using the East Kootenay Regional District Electoral Area C and the Southeast Kootenay School District boundary in this area, these towns east of Cranbrook will be included in the same electoral district (Kootenay East). Following this boundary also has the effect of moving a small area around the airport west of Cranbrook into Kootenay East from Columbia River-Revelstoke. While these changes affect only a small number of people, it will provide more effective representation for these communities.

Table 11: Proposed electoral districts population and area – Columbia-Kootenay Region

Link to Columbia-Kootenay Region map

Electoral district

Population

Deviation (%)

Area
(sq km)

Kootenay West (link to map)

41,302

-22.2

12,009

Nelson-Creston (link to map)

36,907

-30.5

13,212

Kootenay East (link to map)

40,466

-23.8

13,210

Columbia River-Revelstoke (link to map)

31,907

-39.9

37,704


Okanagan/Shuswap

The Okanagan/Shuswap area consists of both rural communities and urban, fast growing centres such as Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton. Unlike the faster growing electoral districts in the rest of the Okanagan/Shuswap, Boundary-Similkameen is expected to grow at a slower rate.

In contrast to the defined regions, the public input we received for this area was more specific to individual communities and electoral districts and varied as to the level of satisfaction with the existing boundaries.

Vernon-Monashee currently is the most populated electoral district in the Okanagan/Shuswap, whereas Shuswap’s population is the second smallest of the electoral districts in the area. To better balance the population in this area, our Preliminary Report proposed to move the boundary between Vernon-Monashee and Shuswap south to include Swan Lake in the Shuswap electoral district. However, after consideration of the responses to our proposals and in consideration that the population difference in the two electoral districts is only 10%, we decided to revisit this decision and propose no change to the existing boundaries in this area.

We received more varied input for the Kelowna area. Some wanted to see substantial changes to the boundaries of these districts, including a configuration of electoral districts that more closely followed school catchment areas or did not cross Okanagan Lake, while others suggested that the current Westside-Kelowna district should include more of the downtown Kelowna area. We propose to change the name of Westside-Kelowna to Kelowna West. However, we chose not to make any changes to the boundaries of the three Kelowna area electoral districts since their populations are similar, and we were not convinced changes would achieve more effective representation.

We propose no changes to: Shuswap, Vernon-Monashee, Kelowna-Lake Country, Kelowna West, Kelowna-Mission, and Penticton.

Boundary-Similkameen

Boundary-Similkameen is rural in nature and, unlike the rest of the Okanagan/Shuswap, it does not have a major urban centre and instead is made up of many dispersed smaller communities. It is also not expected to see the same levels of growth as the rest of the Okanagan/Shuswap.

At -28.8%, Boundary-Similkameen is more than 25% under the provincial average. To bring the population of Boundary-Similkameen within +/- 25%, we chose to expand the electoral district boundaries west to include the town of Princeton and its surrounding communities. While some of the public input we received requested that Princeton stay within the Fraser-Nicola electoral district, many submitters recognized that Princeton will receive effective representation in Boundary-Similkameen (for more on changes to Fraser-Nicola see page 37).

The boundary between Fraser-Nicola and Boundary-Similkameen now largely follows the western and north-western boundary of the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District, but varies from this boundary to place Manning Park entirely within Fraser-Nicola.

Table 12: Proposed electoral districts population and area – Okanagan/Shuswap

Link to Okanagan Shuswap map

Electoral district

Population

Deviation (%)

Area
(sq km)

Shuswap (link to map)

59,352

6.1

8,610

Vernon-Monashee (link to map)

62,106

16.9

5,035

Kelowna-Lake Country (link to map)

61,113

15.0

1,165

Kelowna West (link to map)

59,750

12.5

1,142

Kelowna-Mission (link to map)

60,403

13.7

528

Penticton (link to map)

56,722

6.8

1,908

Boundary-Similkameen (link to map)

42,340

-20.3

15,614


Greater Vancouver

The highest growth areas in the Lower Mainland are in Greater Vancouver, resulting in most of its electoral districts exceeding the provincial average and some even exceeding the permissible +/- 25% range. Surrey and Richmond are two cities with especially high growth. These cities currently do not have adequate seats to ensure effective representation for their populations and thus we have proposed to add an electoral district in each of Richmond and Surrey.

Changes to electoral district boundaries across Greater Vancouver are a result of the locations of these new electoral districts. Aside from Richmond and Surrey, much of the input we received from people in Greater Vancouver indicated a preference for limited changes to electoral boundaries there. Further, there was a desire that proposed electoral districts not cross municipal boundaries. We have been able to achieve this result in most of the Greater Vancouver area. We also received input on the importance of keeping neighbourhoods within municipalities intact. This has been more challenging to adopt as the boundaries of neighbourhoods in some areas are not always well defined and in areas of high growth can be quite fluid. Therefore, our proposals try to respect the spirit of this input where possible.

We propose no changes to: Vancouver-Fairview, Vancouver-Langara, Vancouver-Kensington, Vancouver-Fraserview, Vancouver-Kingsway, Vancouver-Hastings, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, West Vancouver-Capilano, Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, Port Coquitlam, Burnaby-Deer Lake, Burnaby-Edmonds, Delta South, and Delta North.

Vancouver

Vancouver is a growing area of Greater Vancouver and nearly every electoral district is over the provincial average. However, we heard from a number of presenters in Vancouver that the need to add an electoral district was greater in Surrey and Richmond than in Vancouver. Submissions requested that we maintain the existing number of districts in Vancouver and that we rebalance the populations among the districts.

Coal Harbour is currently divided between Vancouver-West End and Vancouver-False Creek. We have reunited the entire Coal Harbour neighbourhood in Vancouver-West End by continuing the existing boundary between Vancouver-West End and Vancouver-False Creek up Burrard Street to the Burrard Inlet. This change has the additional benefits of better balancing the populations between the two districts and providing more room for growth in Vancouver-False Creek.

The boundary between Vancouver-Quilchena and Vancouver-Point Grey has been adjusted to reflect the change to the Pacific Spirit Regional Park boundary resulting from the 2008 Reconciliation Settlement and Benefits Agreement between the Province and the Musqueam First Nation.

No further changes to Vancouver electoral districts are proposed.

North Vancouver

The two North Vancouver electoral districts are currently aligned to include the entire City of North Vancouver in North Vancouver-Lonsdale and most of the District Municipality of North Vancouver in North Vancouver-Seymour. We view this divide as logical, but following suggestions from the public we have made small changes to the boundary between these two districts around Lynn Valley to follow Highway 1 to better reflect communities of interest and to balance the population between the two electoral districts while taking into account future growth areas.

West Vancouver

Both the West Vancouver-Sea to Sky and West Vancouver-Capilano electoral districts have populations very close to the provincial average and have logical boundaries. Therefore, we propose only one change to provide for more effective representation for the Tipella and Skookumchuck First Nations communities around the north end of Harrison Lake. The road connections in this area are with Pemberton and Mount Currie to the north, not with the Fraser Valley to the south. Therefore, we propose moving the boundary between West Vancouver-Sea to Sky and Chilliwack-Kent south to include these communities in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky.

Tri-Cities

Unlike other areas of the Lower Mainland that either correspond to municipal boundaries or have a number of electoral districts contained exclusively within a municipality, the Tri-Cities is an area where this is not possible. The Tri-Cities is made up of the cities of Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, and Coquitlam. Although they are three distinct municipalities, these cities work closely together and many residents view this area as a community in itself. We heard from the public that it is important to keep the four Tri-Cities electoral districts within the boundaries of the Tri-Cities area, as we have done with single municipalities. The changes we propose in the Tri-Cities take into account the public input we received and rebalance population between Port Moody-Coquitlam and Coquitlam-Maillardville. We propose shifting the south-west boundary of Port Moody-Coquitlam north to Foster Road and moving the south-east boundary south to Como Lake Road and the right of way east of Pinnacle Creek Ravine Municipal Park.

Burnaby

The City of Burnaby has four electoral districts contained entirely within its municipal boundaries. They each currently revolve around a town centre: Brentwood, Lougheed, Metrotown, and Royal Oak/Edmonds. We believe this is a logical way to divide these communities into electoral districts. However, the Brentwood area is growing significantly more than the other neighbourhoods. We have, therefore, acknowledged this growth by rebalancing the population between these higher and lower growth areas.

Consistent with a recommendation made by the public, we shifted the boundary between Burnaby-Lougheed and Burnaby North from Sperling Avenue to Kensington Avenue. This relatively small adjustment enables us to rebalance the populations of the two districts and to account for the higher rate of growth in the Brentwood area.

Richmond/New Westminster/Delta

Richmond, New Westminster, and Delta are populous areas with electoral districts entirely within each municipality’s borders. Unlike Richmond and New Westminster, both Delta electoral districts have populations much closer to the provincial average and relatively low rates of growth. We concluded that the current boundaries are effective in dividing the population between the two major communities of interest within Delta. Therefore, no changes are proposed to Delta North or Delta South.

In contrast to Delta, two of Richmond’s current three electoral districts already have exceeded the allowable population deviation and are projected to see significantly more growth. However, the population of Richmond does not warrant four electoral districts contained within Richmond’s municipal boundaries. With a population 29.7% above the provincial average, the current electoral district of New Westminster also exceeds the +/- 25% deviation. Although the City of New Westminster historically has had an electoral district that matches its municipal boundaries, its population has grown too large to maintain this. We heard from numerous members of the public that the Queensborough neighbourhood of New Westminster on Lulu Island has ties to Richmond in addition to its ties to the rest of New Westminster and that if changes to New Westminster are required, Queensborough residents could be effectively represented in a Richmond-Queensborough electoral district. Therefore we propose combining the Queensborough neighbourhood with the East Richmond neighbourhood on Lulu Island. This shift brings New Westminster within the +/- 25% deviation range without requiring any further changes.

With the addition of Queensborough, the population of the entire Lulu Island now warrants a fourth electoral district. Our proposals combine Queensborough with the Hamilton neighbourhood of Richmond, most of East Richmond and a small part of the South Arm community. We call this electoral district Richmond-Queensborough.

The community known as Richmond City Centre is the most populous part of the city and is also the fastest growing. Our proposals proportion this very densely populated community between two electoral districts.

Richmond North Centre includes the area north-west of Richmond City Hall, including Sea Island. Richmond South Centre is oriented south-east of Richmond City Hall.

Our proposals largely retain the existing Richmond-Steveston electoral district as it is. However, to allow for future growth we have removed three blocks in the north-east of the district north of Francis Road and east of No. 2 Road from the current Richmond-Steveston and placed this area in Richmond South Centre.

Surrey

The City of Surrey continues to be a high growth area of the province. Seven of the eight electoral districts in Surrey are well over the provincial average and this rate of growth is projected to continue. Two districts already exceed the maximum allowable population range and two more are very close. The significantly higher than average population of the Surrey electoral districts leads to concerns about effective representation. In our view Surrey’s existing population and continued high growth warrant an additional electoral district. Therefore, we are proposing that the number of electoral districts in Surrey be increased from eight to nine.

Adding a new electoral district within the Surrey municipal boundaries that appropriately balances the population between the districts requires a substantial reconfiguration of the electoral districts. While a few districts in the north-west of the city and the district around White Rock are similar to the existing electoral districts in those areas, the remainder of the electoral districts in Surrey are substantially different from the current districts.

After the release of our Preliminary Report, we received a largely positive response to our Surrey proposals, particularly regarding the addition of a ninth electoral district for the area. We also heard many requests to respect the six community boundaries (Cloverdale, Fleetwood, Guildford, Newton, South Surrey, Whalley) in our electoral district proposals for Surrey. However, we found it challenging to follow community boundaries as closely in Surrey as we have in other areas of the Lower Mainland due to the large and unequal populations between these communities.

For example, submitters explained that Clayton belongs in an electoral district with Cloverdale as they are both part of the Cloverdale community. Similarly, Fleetwood residents expressed concerns that our preliminary proposals did not include the core of the Fleetwood community in Surrey-Fleetwood. However, both Clayton and Cloverdale are expected to see significant growth and are too large to be in one electoral district, as is the Fleetwood community. Therefore, we could not accommodate all of these requests. This inability to follow community boundaries more closely has required us to propose electoral districts in Surrey that place some communities in multiple electoral districts.

Our proposed Surrey-Whalley electoral district has boundaries relatively similar to the current Surrey-Whalley, with the exception of four square blocks north of 100 Avenue between 140 Street and 148 Street that have been removed from the current Surrey-Whalley and placed in Surrey-Guildford.

In contrast to the current Surrey-Tynehead electoral district, our proposed Surrey-Guildford electoral district includes four additional blocks in the Guildford area and will use Tynehead Park and Golden Ears Way as its southern boundary.

Since 2008 the population of the current Surrey-Cloverdale district has grown by more than 55%, with almost all of this growth occurring in the dense Cloverdale and Clayton areas. These communities are now too large for a single electoral district and their population must be assigned to two districts. Our proposed Surrey-Cloverdale electoral district includes the Cloverdale community north of Highway 10 and west of 188 Street. This district also includes parts of the current Surrey-Fleetwood and Surrey-Tynehead districts north of Cloverdale.

Our proposed Surrey-Fleetwood electoral district is more compact than the current Surrey-Fleetwood district, adjusting the neighbourhoods east of 160 Street to Surrey-Cloverdale, and adding blocks in the south and west. Thus, the landmarks of Fleetwood Park and Fleetwood Park Secondary School are retained within the district.

Our proposed Surrey-Green Timbers electoral district is also similar to the current Surrey-Green Timbers with the exception of two blocks that have been removed east of Bear Creek Park.

The eastern boundary of our proposed Surrey-Newton electoral district ends at 144 Street, but now includes an additional block east of King George Boulevard north of 68 Avenue. Otherwise it largely is consistent with the current Surrey-Newton district.

Our proposed district south of Surrey-Newton largely consists of the area that was in the Surrey-Panorama district north of the BC Rail line. We propose this district be named Surrey-Panorama.

South of Surrey-Panorama is our proposed Surrey South electoral district. Surrey South is the largest of our proposed Surrey electoral districts geographically. It stretches from Mud Bay east to the Langley border and from the Peace Arch border crossing north to East Cloverdale and Clayton.

Our proposed Surrey-White Rock electoral district boundaries largely are consistent with the existing Surrey-White Rock; however we propose the district also include the community west of 128 Street, including the Crescent Beach neighbourhood and marina.

Table 13: Proposed electoral districts population and area – Greater Vancouver

Link to Greater Vancouver map

Electoral district

Population

Deviation (%)

Area
(sq km)

Vancouver-Point Grey (link to map)

60,611

14.1

42

Vancouver-Quilchena (link to map)

59,953

12.9

23

Vancouver-Fairview (link to map)

59,701

12.4

9

Vancouver-Langara (link to map)

60,041

13.0

15

Vancouver-Kensington (link to map)

61,250

15.3

9

Vancouver-Fraserview (link to map)

62,885

18.4

13

Vancouver-Kingsway (link to map)

62,459

17.6

9

Vancouver-Hastings (link to map)

59,491

12.0

14

Vancouver-Mount Pleasant (link to map)

58,041

9.3

13

Vancouver-False Creek (link to map)

57,261

7.8

6

Vancouver-West End (link to map)

57,287

7.8

14

West Vancouver-Sea to Sky (link to map)

55,129

3.8

11,709

West Vancouver-Capilano (link to map)

57,173

7.6

80

North Vancouver-Lonsdale (link to map)

57,431

8.1

25

North Vancouver-Seymour (link to map)

58,120

9.4

388

Port Moody-Coquitlam (link to map)

59,355

11.7

85

Coquitlam-Burke Mountain (link to map)

59,029

11.1

620

Port Coquitlam (link to map)

60,813

14.5

35

Coquitlam-Maillardville (link to map)

58,351

9.8

30

Burnaby-Lougheed (link to map)

59,797

12.6

37

Burnaby North (link to map)

58,159

9.5

23

Burnaby-Deer Lake (link to map)

58,195

9.6

14

Burnaby-Edmonds (link to map)

60,439

13.8

22

New Westminster (link to map)

61,422

15.6

14

Richmond-Queensborough (link to map)

55,627

4.7

92

Richmond North Centre (link to map)

49,157

-7.5

440

Richmond South Centre (link to map)

50,101

-5.7

7

Richmond-Steveston (link to map)

55,539

4.6

30

Delta South (link to map)

47,577

-10.4

464

Delta North (link to map)

55,011

3.6

32

Surrey-Whalley (link to map)

58,668

10.4

27

Surrey-Guildford (link to map)

58,037

9.3

42

Surrey-Cloverdale (link to map)

59,649

12.3

55

Surrey-Fleetwood (link to map)

60,477

13.9

17

Surrey-Green Timbers (link to map)

58,816

10.7

18

Surrey-Newton (link to map)

58,340

9.8

12

Surrey-Panorama (link to map)

60,128

13.2

24

Surrey South (link to map)

57,746

8.7

125

Surrey-White Rock (link to map)

58,588

10.3

68


Fraser Valley

As in the Greater Vancouver area, the Fraser Valley has seen high rates of growth. Fewer of the Fraser Valley electoral districts however are significantly over the provincial average. Because the permitted two additional electoral districts have been added in Richmond and Surrey, the electoral districts that exceed the +/-25% range in the Langley area need to be adjusted by extending the boundaries of the Fraser Valley electoral districts farther east.

Many of the communities in the Fraser Valley have populations either too large (e.g. Maple Ridge - 80,434) or too small (e.g. Mission - 37,539) to have electoral districts aligned with municipal boundaries. Therefore, to balance the populations and to respect inter-governmental and community ties our proposed electoral districts in this area continue to cross municipal boundaries.

We propose no changes to: Maple Ridge-Mission and Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows.

Langley

The Langley area electoral districts typically have been self-contained electoral districts that have not crossed into other municipalities. However, this area has seen significant growth since 2008 and now its population is too high for two self-contained districts but does not yet warrant a third. All of the feedback we received regarding our preliminary proposals for Langley opposed our use of Highway 1 as a boundary and requested electoral districts more similar to the current configuration. Submitters explained that Langley does not share a community of interest with Abbotsford and these communities should not be combined in the same electoral districts. However, many told us that Aldergrove could be placed in an electoral district with western Abbotsford as they share a community of interest. In response to this input we propose electoral districts that more closely follow the current configuration.

Our proposed Langley electoral district largely follows the current boundaries, but is more compact. We propose moving the eastern boundary two blocks west to 216 Street to accommodate the growing population of the City of Langley.

Our proposed Langley East electoral district contains the rest of the Township of Langley that is west of 248 Street south of Highway 1, and west of 264 Street north of Highway 1.

Abbotsford

Abbotsford is another rapidly growing area of the Fraser Valley. Unlike Langley, the Abbotsford area electoral districts often have crossed municipal boundaries into Mission. Input to the commission suggested that many people in this area, especially in Mission, view dual-municipality districts in this area as an effective way to provide a high quality of representation for like communities. However, in response to our preliminary proposals, we heard that Abbotsford does not share a strong community of interest with Chilliwack or western Langley. Therefore, we propose Abbotsford districts that are largely within Abbotsford municipal boundaries.

Our proposed Abbotsford South largely follows the current electoral district boundaries, but includes the community of Aldergrove and the Township of Langley east of 248 Street. East of Sumas Way, the boundary now follows Highway 1 to the Abbotsford/Chilliwack border.

Our proposed Abbotsford West electoral district is similar to the current Abbotsford West, but extends further west to 264 Street and east to Sumas Way. The southern boundary follows South Fraser Way and Old Yale Road.

The proposed Abbotsford-Mission electoral district contains the remainder of the City of Abbotsford north of Highway 1, the eastern part of Mission, the communities east of Mission to Harrison River and the Fraser Valley Regional District Electoral Area F. North of the Fraser River we propose only one very small change to the current Abbotsford-Mission electoral district boundaries at Stave Lake.

Chilliwack

With the removal of Hope and the Fraser Canyon from an electoral district that includes Chilliwack, the population of the eastern Fraser Valley must be rebalanced (for more on changes to Fraser-Nicola see page 37). We propose two electoral districts centred around Chilliwack: Chilliwack and Chilliwack-Kent.

Our proposed Chilliwack electoral district largely follows the current boundaries, but excludes neighbourhoods east of Vedder Road south of Highway 1 to Chilliwack-Kent.

Our proposed Chilliwack-Kent is similar to the current Chilliwack-Hope, but does not include Hope and the Fraser Canyon. The western boundary now follows the Fraser Valley Electoral Area B boundary. The northern boundary with West Vancouver-Sea to Sky has also been altered (for more on this change see page 61).

Table 14: Proposed electoral districts population and area – Fraser Valley

Link to Fraser Valley map

Electoral district

Population

Deviation
(%)

Area
(sq km)

Langley (link to map)

59,812

12.6

59

Langley East (link to map)

61,576

15.9

186

Abbotsford South (link to map)

61,997

16.7

243

Abbotsford West (link to map)

60,339

13.6

135

Abbotsford-Mission (link to map)

60,962

14.8

660

Chilliwack (link to map)

49,089

-7.6

135

Chilliwack-Kent (link to map)

51,021

-3.9

3,168

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows (link to map)

58,287

9.7

1,980

Maple Ridge-Mission (link to map)

58,697

10.5

393


Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast

Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast are a mix of urban, suburban, rural and remote communities. With a few notable exceptions they are not densely populated and share many of the accessibility challenges of other remote parts of British Columbia. Consistent with the message received elsewhere in the province, much of the input from residents of this area recommended little to no change. We were reminded of the transportation challenges faced by residents on the Sunshine Coast, the islands east and north of Vancouver Island, and the remote communities on the north and western coasts of Vancouver Island. The input also emphasized the Malahat as a natural divide between districts in the south and the rest of Vancouver Island.

Most of the current electoral districts in this area are at or near the provincial average. The exceptions are the rapidly growing Comox Valley, which is currently more than 22% above the provincial average, and neighbouring Alberni-Pacific Rim at 18% below the provincial average. This disparity is too great and creates the necessity to rebalance the population in this area in order to provide more effective representation for both of these communities. We also propose changes in the Nanaimo and Greater Victoria areas to respond to public input, rebalance populations and provide more effective representation.

We propose no changes to: Powell River-Sunshine Coast, North Island, Cowichan Valley, Saanich North and the Islands, Saanich South, and Victoria-Swan Lake.

Comox Valley and mid-Vancouver Island

In recent years, the Comox Valley electoral district has shared the same boundaries as the Comox Valley Regional District. However, the population of Comox Valley has now outgrown a single electoral district. At 22% over the provincial average Comox Valley is just within the +/- 25% population range but is projected to exceed it by 2017. Therefore, we determined that we must address this issue now and propose boundaries that provide more effective representation by reducing the population within this district.

The current Alberni-Pacific Rim electoral district is by far the smallest electoral district on Vancouver Island by population. It is 18% under the provincial average and is projected to grow more slowly than the provincial average in the near future.

To provide more effective representation for both communities the boundaries between the two districts are altered to assign some of the population of Comox Valley to the other mid-island electoral district. While the majority of the public input from the Comox Valley requested we not make any changes to the current electoral district, it was also emphasised that if we were to make changes, the communities of Courtenay and Comox would be best served in the same electoral district. Our Preliminary Report proposal to include Cumberland in Mid Island-Pacific Rim was not well received by a number of those who provided public input. However, we continue to believe that the inclusion of Cumberland in Mid Island-Pacific Rim will provide more effective representation for both communities. With its sizeable population, Cumberland will act as an anchor community for the eastern portion of the district, similar to role that Port Alberni plays for the central portion, and Tofino and Ucluelet play in the west.

We propose an electoral district that includes the communities of Courtenay and Comox, as well as the rest of the Comox Valley Regional District north-west of the Comox Valley Regional District Electoral Area A and Area C boundary. We propose this electoral district be named Courtenay-Comox.

The remainder of the Comox Valley Regional District, from Royston and Cumberland south, and including Hornby and Denman Islands, will be included in a new mid-Island electoral district that we propose be named Mid Island-Pacific Rim.

Nanaimo area

Nanaimo and the surrounding areas are experiencing moderate growth. The area includes Parksville, Qualicum, Nanaimo, and the Cowichan Valley. These areas share ties and, with the exception of the Nanaimo electoral district, combine various communities in one electoral district. The changes we propose address the growing population in this area and respond to requests to unite affiliated communities.

We propose a small change to the Parksville-Qualicum electoral district boundaries. We propose extending the northern boundary north-west to the Nanaimo Regional District Electoral Area G boundary north of Highway 19 in order to include the area of Dashwood on the north-west side of the Little Qualicum River in the Parksville-Qualicum electoral district.

We propose to include Vancouver Island University, the College Heights neighbourhood, and the City of Nanaimo west of Highway 19 in the Nanaimo electoral district by largely following the Nanaimo municipal boundary in this area. This change will place Vancouver Island University in the same electoral district as where the majority of its staff and students reside. To offset the increase in population to the Nanaimo electoral district, we propose moving the southern boundary between Nanaimo and Nanaimo-North Cowichan north from Fifth Street to Fourth Street.

Capital Region

Vancouver Island south of the Malahat is made up of 13 municipalities and four unincorporated areas. The highest rates of growth in the Capital Region are in Langford and the West Shore in the suburbs of Greater Victoria. The populations of the existing electoral districts are relatively well balanced and we are not convinced of a need to propose more extensive changes to this area. We propose changes to the boundaries of the existing Victoria-Beacon Hill and Oak Bay-Gordon Head electoral districts to return the neighbourhood of Vic West to a Victoria electoral district and rebalance the population between these two districts. The western boundary of Victoria-Beacon Hill becomes the Victoria/Esquimalt boundary and the eastern boundary follows Richmond Avenue to Fairfield Road and along the east side of Ross Bay Cemetery to the ocean.

We also propose moving the District of Metchosin to an electoral district that includes Colwood, View Royal and Esquimalt and that this district be named Esquimalt-Metchosin. This change will balance the population across the area while providing room for continued growth in Langford. We propose the current Juan de Fuca electoral district be renamed Langford-Juan de Fuca.

Table 15: Proposed electoral districts population and area – Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast

Link to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast map

Electoral district

Population

Deviation
(%)

Area(sq
km)

Powell River-Sunshine Coast (link to map)

50,039

-5.8

21,007

North Island (link to map)

55,633

4.7

45,034

Courtenay-Comox (link to map)

54,816

3.2

1,584

Mid Island-Pacific Rim (link to map)

52,833

-0.5

14,099

Parksville-Qualicum (link to map)

54,089

1.8

978

Nanaimo (link to map)

57,008

7.3

458

Nanaimo-North Cowichan (link to map)

52,414

-1.3

2,700

Cowichan Valley (link to map)

59,232

11.5

1,685

Saanich North and the Islands (link to map)

56,492

6.3

1,519

Saanich South (link to map)

51,661

-2.7

91

Victoria-Swan Lake (link to map)

51,569

-2.9

18

Oak Bay-Gordon Head (link to map)

55,689

4.8

330

Victoria-Beacon Hill (link to map)

54,707

3.0

90

Esquimalt-Metchosin (link to map)

51,450

-3.1

378

Langford-Juan de Fuca (link to map)

51,782

-2.5

2,447


Next steps

We submit this report containing our final proposals to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly on September 24, 2015 in accordance with the requirements of the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act. With the submission of this report, the work of the commission is complete.

The proposals contained in our Final Report are recommendations. The final decision regarding adoption of our proposals lies with the Members of the Legislative Assembly. Once electoral boundaries are officially adopted by the Legislative Assembly they will come into force at the time of the next general election and will apply to the anticipated 2017 and 2021 provincial general elections.

Considerations for the Legislative Assembly

A number of matters have arisen during the course of our work that have caused us to reflect on various aspects of the administration of our commission and of future commissions in British Columbia. We raise these matters for consideration by legislators.

Administrative support for British Columbia Electoral Boundaries Commissions

Prior to this commission, the practice in British Columbia was to create a separate administrative entity to provide all administrative support for the Electoral Boundaries Commission during its existence. This included such support as establishing separate office space, staffing, financial management, information management, information technology, communications services and similar operational support services. The Electoral Boundaries Commission Act anticipates such an administrative and staffing model and provides that the commission may hire staff.

Elections BC provided the administrative support for our commission, and this proved to be very beneficial in a number of respects. The commission was able to establish itself very quickly following the appointment of the commissioners in May 2014. We were conducting our initial meetings and briefing sessions in early June in the Elections BC offices. We did not secure any additional office space, were able to take advantage of many staffing services through Elections BC, and in the end spent less than 35% of the $4.5 million initially allocated to the work of the commission.

Since in British Columbia the Chief Electoral Officer is an independent Officer of the Legislature and by statute a member of the Electoral Boundaries Commission, obtaining administrative support from Elections BC does not threaten the independence of the Electoral Boundaries Commission. Thus, adopting this administrative model seems particularly sensible. Therefore, we recommend that the Legislative Assembly consider including in the Act a requirement for Elections BC to provide this support to future commissions.

The challenges for representation by population in light of British Columbia’s uneven population growth and the current legislative framework

According to the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, representation in the Legislative Assembly must be governed by the principle of representation by population. Some parts of communities grow more rapidly, some grow more slowly, and some even decrease in population. The work of an electoral boundaries commission provides an opportunity to consider whether the relative changes in population are such as to undermine this principle of representation by population. Where this is the case, Electoral Boundaries Commissions are mandated to propose changes to electoral districts that correct this.

The May 2014 amendments to the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act prohibit a reduction in the number of electoral districts in the North, Cariboo-Thompson and Columbia-Kootenay regions. These regions contain electoral districts whose populations generally are much smaller than the provincial average, and furthermore, contain areas of the province whose population is growing more slowly than the provincial average.

Effectively freezing the number of electoral districts in regions with slower or negative growth has led to more electoral districts further from the provincial average in the rest of the province; this effect is most prominent in areas of rapid growth.

Relative to the 1999 Commission, the 2008 Commission and our commission have proposed more electoral districts with populations that are further from the provincial average. Increasing the number of electoral districts only goes so far to address the different rates of growth, and electoral districts are becoming more unequal in population over time especially in the defined regions.

Whereas the 1999 Commission proposals6 provided for 60% of the electoral districts to be within +/-10% of the provincial average, this has decreased to only 46% of our proposals. Consequently, more than half of our proposed electoral districts are more than +/-10% of the provincial average and 10 are greater than 25% below average (two are more than 50%). As more electoral districts stray toward the outer limits of the permissible range dictated by the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act and the Supreme Court, the principle of representation by population is weakened (see Appendix E for more details).

The 1999 Commission stated their view was:

“the caselaw directs that any deviation from the electoral quota must be justified. Furthermore, we read the discussion of the constitutional principles in the cases (which they considered) as imposing on us an obligation to minimize deviations and to rationalize the populations of neighbouring electoral districts, wherever possible, subject to the other factors relevant to effective representation which may be taken into account.”7

Under the current legislative framework, it is becoming increasingly difficult to begin from the premise that deviations can be kept to a minimum. Indeed, while keeping ever mindful of the need for relative population equality, we were drawn inexorably to recommend electoral districts with growing population inequality.

As proposed in the conclusion to the 2008 Commission Report, the Legislative Assembly did in fact develop a new legislative model to guide the work of our commission. With the advantage of the fruits of our labour, the Legislative Assembly is now in a good position to assess the degree to which this legislative solution achieves the appropriate balance required between the principle of representation by population, and the need to take into account other representational imperatives.

Appendices

Appendix A: Population estimates, current 85 electoral districts (2008 Commission)

Electoral district

2014 Population

Deviation
(%)

Area
(sq km)

Abbotsford-Mission

55,003

1.2

666

Abbotsford South

55,730

2.5

211

Abbotsford West

52,940

-2.6

105

Alberni-Pacific Rim

43,560

-19.9

13,172

Boundary-Similkameen

37,840

-30.4

11,174

Burnaby-Deer Lake

58,193

7.0

14

Burnaby-Edmonds

60,439

11.2

22

Burnaby-Lougheed

56,599

4.1

36

Burnaby North

61,272

12.7

24

Cariboo-Chilcotin

29,767

-45.3

43,321

Cariboo North

33,295

-38.8

39,770

Chilliwack

55,002

1.2

146

Chilliwack-Hope

53,122

-2.3

10,813

Columbia River-Revelstoke

32,521

-40.2

39,732

Comox Valley

64,900

19.4

2,526

Coquitlam-Burke Mountain

59,029

8.6

620

Coquitlam-Maillardville

60,393

11.1

32

Cowichan Valley

59,232

8.9

1,685

Delta North

55,011

1.2

32

Delta South

47,577

-12.5

464

Esquimalt-Royal Roads

52,815

-2.9

69

Fort Langley-Aldergrove

71,470

31.5

233

Fraser-Nicola

31,182

-42.6

33,784

Juan de Fuca

57,426

5.6

2,759

Kamloops-North Thompson

54,014

-0.7

21,641

Kamloops-South Thompson

55,983

3.0

2,377

Kelowna-Lake Country

61,113

12.4

1,165

Kelowna-Mission

60,403

11.1

528

Kootenay East

39,852

-26.7

11,182

Kootenay West

41,302

-24.0

12,009

Langley

69,543

27.9

95

Maple Ridge-Mission

58,697

8.0

392

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows

58,287

7.2

1,980

Nanaimo

54,852

0.9

449

Nanaimo-North Cowichan

54,560

0.4

2,709

Nechako Lakes

27,692

-49.1

73,795

Nelson-Creston

36,907

-32.1

13,212

New Westminster

68,956

26.8

18

North Coast

22,382

-58.8

143,856

North Island

55,633

2.3

45,034

North Vancouver-Lonsdale

59,657

9.7

26

North Vancouver-Seymour

55,894

2.8

387

Oak Bay-Gordon Head

50,310

-7.5

315

Parksville-Qualicum

53,288

-2.0

962

Peace River North

43,263

-20.4

175,813

Peace River South

28,104

-48.3

30,364

Penticton

56,722

4.3

1,910

Port Coquitlam

60,813

11.9

35

Port Moody-Coquitlam

57,313

5.4

83

Powell River-Sunshine Coast

50,039

-8.0

21,007

Prince George-Mackenzie

46,562

-14.4

20,440

Prince George-Valemount

48,599

-10.6

31,538

Richmond Centre

70,374

29.4

440

Richmond East

69,599

28.0

92

Richmond-Steveston

63,004

15.9

32

Saanich North and the Islands

56,492

3.9

1,519

Saanich South

51,661

-5.0

91

Shuswap

56,356

3.7

8,637

Skeena

30,240

-44.4

31,649

Stikine

20,616

-62.1

196,446

Surrey-Cloverdale

79,362

46.0

121

Surrey-Fleetwood

61,775

13.6

21

Surrey-Green Timbers

62,973

15.8

19

Surrey-Newton

65,511

20.5

14

Surrey-Panorama

75,462

38.8

62

Surrey-Tynehead

63,969

17.7

60

Surrey-Whalley

65,812

21.0

30

Surrey-White Rock

55,585

2.2

61

Vancouver-Fairview

59,701

9.8

9

Vancouver-False Creek

61,251

12.7

7

Vancouver-Fraserview

62,885

15.7

13

Vancouver-Hastings

59,491

9.4

14

Vancouver-Kensington

61,250

12.7

9

Vancouver-Kingsway

62,459

14.9

9

Vancouver-Langara

60,041

10.4

15

Vancouver-Mount Pleasant

58,041

6.8

13

Vancouver-Point Grey

60,611

11.5

42

Vancouver-Quilchena

59,953

10.3

23

Vancouver-West End

53,297

-2.0

13

Vernon-Monashee

62,102

14.2

5,034

Victoria-Beacon Hill

53,077

-2.4

102

Victoria-Swan Lake

51,569

-5.2

18

West Vancouver-Capilano

57,173

5.2

80

West Vancouver-Sea to Sky

54,894

1.0

9,598

Westside-Kelowna

59,750

9.9

1,140

Total

4,621,394


Appendix B: Population estimates, proposed 87 electoral districts (2015 Commission)

Electoral district

2014 Population

Deviation
(%)

Area
(sq km)

Abbotsford-Mission

60,962

14.8

660

Abbotsford South

61,997

16.7

243

Abbotsford West

60,339

13.6

135

Boundary-Similkameen

42,340

-20.3

15,614

Burnaby-Deer Lake

58,195

9.6

14

Burnaby-Edmonds

60,439

13.8

22

Burnaby-Lougheed

59,797

12.6

37

Burnaby North

58,159

9.5

23

Cariboo-Chilcotin

33,520

-36.9

44,512

Cariboo North

29,542

-44.4

38,579

Chilliwack

49,089

-7.6

135

Chilliwack-Kent

51,021

-3.9

3,168

Columbia River-Revelstoke

31,907

-39.9

37,704

Coquitlam-Burke Mountain

59,029

11.1

620

Coquitlam-Maillardville

58,351

9.8

30

Courtenay-Comox

54,816

3.2

1,584

Cowichan Valley

59,232

11.5

1,685

Delta North

55,011

3.6

32

Delta South

47,577

-10.4

464

Esquimalt-Metchosin

51,450

-3.1

378

Fraser-Nicola

34,034

-35.9

34,830

Kamloops-North Thompson

54,014

1.7

21,642

Kamloops-South Thompson

56,410

6.2

2,436

Kelowna-Lake Country

61,113

15.0

1,165

Kelowna-Mission

60,403

13.7

528

Kelowna West

59,750

12.5

1,142

Kootenay East

40,466

-23.8

13,210

Kootenay West

41,302

-22.2

12,009

Langford-Juan de Fuca

51,782

-2.5

2,447

Langley

59,812

12.6

59

Langley East

61,576

15.9

186

Maple Ridge-Mission

58,697

10.5

393

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows

58,287

9.7

1,980

Mid Island-Pacific Rim

52,833

-0.5

14,099

Nanaimo

57,008

7.3

458

Nanaimo-North Cowichan

52,414

-1.3

2,700

Nechako Lakes

27,692

-47.9

73,797

Nelson-Creston

36,907

-30.5

13,212

New Westminster

61,422

15.6

14

North Coast

22,382

-57.9

143,864

North Island

55,633

4.7

45,034

North Vancouver-Lonsdale

57,431

8.1

25

North Vancouver-Seymour

58,120

9.4

388

Oak Bay-Gordon Head

55,689

4.8

330

Parksville-Qualicum

54,089

1.8

978

Peace River North

43,263

-18.6

175,813

Peace River South

28,104

-47.1

30,364

Penticton

56,722

6.8

1,908

Port Coquitlam

60,813

14.5

35

Port Moody-Coquitlam

59,355

11.7

85

Powell River-Sunshine Coast

50,039

-5.8

21,007

Prince George-Mackenzie

46,894

-11.7

20,511

Prince George-Valemount

48,267

-9.1

31,467

Richmond North Centre

49,157

-7.5

440

Richmond-Queensborough

55,627

4.7

92

Richmond South Centre

50,101

-5.7

7

Richmond-Steveston

55,539

4.6

30

Saanich North and the Islands

56,492

6.3

1,519

Saanich South

51,661

-2.7

91

Shuswap

56,352

6.1

8,610

Skeena

30,240

-43.1

31,610

Stikine

20,616

-61.2

196,484

Surrey-Cloverdale

59,649

12.3

55

Surrey-Fleetwood

60,477

13.9

17

Surrey-Green Timbers

58,816

10.7

18

Surrey-Guildford

58,037

9.3

42

Surrey-Newton

58,340

9.8

12

Surrey-Panorama

60,128

13.2

24

Surrey South

57,746

8.7

125

Surrey-Whalley

58,668

10.4

27

Surrey-White Rock

58,588

10.3

68

Vancouver-Fairview

59,701

12.4

9

Vancouver-False Creek

57,261

7.8

6

Vancouver-Fraserview

62,885

18.4

13

Vancouver-Hastings

59,491

12.0

14

Vancouver-Kensington

61,250

15.3

9

Vancouver-Kingsway

62,459

17.6

9

Vancouver-Langara

60,041

13.0

15

Vancouver-Mount Pleasant

58,041

9.3

13

Vancouver-Point Grey

60,611

14.1

42

Vancouver-Quilchena

59,953

12.9

23

Vancouver-West End

57,287

7.8

14

Vernon-Monashee

62,106

16.9

5,035

Victoria-Beacon Hill

54,707

3.0

90

Victoria-Swan Lake

51,569

-2.9

18

West Vancouver-Capilano

57,173

7.6

80

West Vancouver-Sea to Sky

55,129

3.8

11,709

Total

4,621,394


Appendix C: First round public hearings schedule – Fall 2014

Date

City/Town

North

Monday, Sept. 22, 2014

Prince Rupert

Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014

Terrace

Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014

Smithers

Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014

Fort Nelson

Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014

Dawson Creek

Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014

Prince George

Friday, Sept. 26, 2014

Quesnel

Friday, Sept. 26, 2014

Williams Lake

Central and Interior

Monday, Oct. 6, 2014

Kamloops

Monday, Oct. 6, 2014

Salmon Arm

Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014

Revelstoke

Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014

Cranbrook

Wednesday, Oct. 8 , 2014

Trail

Wednesday, Oct. 8 , 2014

Penticton

Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014

Kelowna

Lower Mainland

Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

Squamish

Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014

Vancouver

Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

Burnaby

Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

Port Coquitlam

Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

Surrey

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

Langley

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

Abbotsford

Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast

Monday, Nov. 3, 2014

Sechelt

Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014

Powell River

Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014

Courtenay

Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014

Campbell River

Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014

Port Alberni

Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014

Nanaimo

Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014

Victoria

Friday, Nov. 7, 2014

Victoria

Appendix D: Second round public hearings schedule – Spring 2015

Date

City/Town

Lower Mainland

Tuesday, Apr. 14, 2015

Hope

Wednesday, Apr. 15, 2015

Abbotsford

Wednesday, Apr. 15, 2015

Langley

Thursday, Apr. 16, 2015

Surrey

Thursday, Apr. 16, 2015 North Vancouver

Friday, Apr. 17, 2015

Vancouver

Friday, Apr. 17, 2015

Richmond

Interior and North

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Williams Lake

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Prince George

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Kamloops

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Vernon

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Princeton

Vancouver Island

Monday, May 25, 2015

Courtenay

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Nanaimo

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Victoria

MLA hearings

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Victoria

Appendix E: Considerations for the Legislative Assembly, data

The data in this appendix is included to support the challenges for representation by population raised in our Considerations for the Legislative Assembly on page 140.

Table E.1: Variation in electoral districts for the 1999, 2008 and 2015 Commissions

Variation range

1999
Commission
number of
districts

2008
Commission
number of
districts

2015
Commission
number of
districts

+20% to +25%

1

6

0

+15% to +19.9%

3

6

8

+10% to +14.9%

14

12

23

+5% to +9.9%

17

19

18

0% to +4.9%

17

16

10

0% to -4.9%

6

6

7

-5% to -9.9%

7

4

5

-10% to -14.9%

1

2

2

-15% to -19.9%

5

1

1

-20% to -24.9%

2

3

3

> -25%

6

10

10

Total electoral districts

79

85

87


The 1999 Commission proposed 59.5% of all electoral districts within +/- 10% of the average population. For the 2008 Commission, only 52.9% of districts were within a range of +/- 10% of the average. For the 2015 Commission, this factor has dropped to 46% of electoral districts being within +/- 10%. A similar trend of growing population inequality exists when one looks at electoral districts with relatively large populations. For the 1999 Commission, 22.8% of all districts were between 10% and 25% over the provincial average, whereas for the 2008 and 2015 Commissions, 28.2% and 35.6% of districts were between 10% and 25%.

Table E.2: Variation in electoral districts greater than 25% below average for the 1999, 2008 and 2015 Commissions

Variation range

1999
Commission
number of
districts

2008
Commission
number of
districts

2015
Commission
number of
districts

-25% to -34.9%

6

3

1

-35% to -49.9%

0

5

7

> -50%

0

2

2

Total electoral districts

more than 25% below

provincial average

6

10

10


Not only are fewer electoral districts within +/- 10% of the average population, and a growing percentage of electoral districts, especially those in the Lower Mainland, are increasingly likely to be more than 10% above the provincial average, but the districts in the less populous areas are becoming relatively smaller. For example, as shown above, the 1999 Commission proposals produced six of 79 electoral districts that were described as “extraordinary”. Of these six, all of them were between 25% and 35% below the provincial average. For the 2008 Commission, the number of “exceptional” districts grew to 10 of 85 districts.

Of these, three were between 25% and 35% below average, five were from 35% to 50% below average, and two were more than 50% below average – all 10 are in defined areas. For the 2015 Commission, 10 of 87 electoral districts are more than 25% below average, and each is within one of the defined regions. Only one of these is between 25% and 35% below average, seven are between 35% and 50% below average and two are more than 50% below average. Even among these latter two districts, variation has gone from -52.2% and -57.4 below average for the 2008 Commission to -57.9% and -61.2% below average for the 2015 Commission.


1 All population figures in this report are as of May 10, 2014. All population deviations are based on a provincial population of 4,621,394, the proposed 87 electoral districts and an electoral quotient of 53,119.

2 Ref. re Electoral Boundaries Commission Act (Sask.) (1991), 81 D.L.R. (4th) 16 (S.C.C.).

3 This date corresponds with the start of the commission’s work.

4 For example, in Maple Ridge-Mission we adjusted a small section of the northern boundary to follow the District of Mission municipal boundary where it previously varied from it. Similar minor adjustments are proposed to: Abbotsford-Mission, Cowichan Valley, Kamloops-North Thompson, Kamloops-South Thompson, Kelowna West, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, Mid Island-Pacific Rim, Nechako Lakes, Penticton, Shuswap, Skeena, Stikine, Vernon-Monashee, Victoria-Beacon Hill, and Victoria-Swan Lake.

5 All population figures in this report are as of May 10, 2014. All population deviations are based on a provincial population of 4,621,394, in the proposed 87 electoral districts and an electoral quotient of 53,119.

6 Following publication of the 2007 Preliminary Report of the 2008 Commission, the government indicated that it opposed the proposed redistribution (which would have led to a reduction in the number of seats in the three regions of the North, the Cariboo-Thompson and the Columbia-Kootenay), and introduced legislation to require no reduction in the number of districts in these regions. Although the legislation did not pass, the 2008 Commission nonetheless included in its final report a set of electoral boundaries that were consistent with the proposed legislation. In doing so, the 2008 Commission indicated they were not its recommended electoral district boundaries. Nonetheless, these are the boundaries that subsequently were adopted by the Legislative Assembly, and it is these districts that are used in the calculations in Appendix E.

7 Amendments to the December 3, 1998 Report to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, p.9