Previous Public Input Received
The following input and submissions were gathered by the commission through public hearings held in 29 communities throughout B.C. from September to November 2014. The public also provided input through the online submission form, by email and by mail to be reviewed and considered as the commission develops a Preliminary Report for further public input.
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Posts

    Ursula Heuberger, Hazelton
    2014-11-06

    1. We have many factors that impact the ability of constituents to receive "effective representation" despite small population per MLA compared to other constituencies.

    2. Stikine is the largest constituency in the province -- at 20 million hectares the size of Ireland, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands combined.
    it takes 20+ hrs non-stop to drive, weather permitting, the constituency (Hungry Hill to Atlin) and have to travel through the Yukon to do it, this does not include a side trip to Telegraph Creek, another 6 hrs return drive on a very challenging dirt road.

    3. Very little public transportation exists for constituents to travel to MLA offices in Hazelton or Smithers for an appointment. For example, no public transport from Gitanyow or Gitwangak to Hazelton, a hour to hour and a half drive one way.

    4. Many constituents do not have a drivers license or own a vehicle -- some of the worst socioeconomic indicators in BC are found in Stikine so accessing their MLA office even more challenging; many cannot afford a landline telephone. most of constituency lacks cell phone service and many areas do not have high speed internet service so communications are also a challenge.

    These are some of the "very special circumstances" (words from the Electoral Boundaries Act) related to things like geography and accessibility that allow the panel to go beyond just the population per MLA considerations when assessing a constituency.
    Current configuration of Stikine that took place before 2009 election is an improvement as it solidified all Gitxsan communities within one constituency and made all communities along Hwy 37 part of the same constituency -- these are culturally, economically and environmentally good boundaries whereas adding communities further east does not fit the natural alliances and relationships already in place based on culture, economics and environment.

    For these reasons related to "effective representation" we do not want to see more territory added to Stikine or Stikine absorbed into another constituency.

    Thank you,

    Ursula Heuberger



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