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

    Christopher Beach, Burns Lake
    2014-10-16

    Boundary Commission,

    I am writing to request that our community, the Lakes District, which surrounds the town of Burns Lake, should be put back into it's former riding of Bulkley-Valley Stikine.

    As of now, being in the riding of Nechako-Lakes, we seemingly get dominated by Prince George's issues and concerns, the northern capital being only 30 minutes outside our boundaries. The largest community in the riding, Vanderhoof, tends to be much more connected, economically, geographically, socially and culturally to Prince George and generally looks East much more than it does to our community and others in the West.

    By putting Burns Lake and Houston back into Bulkley-Valley Stikine we will once again enjoy a commonality of interests, geography, culture and economies. The Hazletons, Smithers, Houston and Burns Lake are all small forestry/mining/farming and tourism based communities with populations under 10,000 that will have much greater success working together on mutual causes and issues.

    Our First Nations communities, of which Lake Babine Nation is the third largest in B.C. and one of six all together within the Lakes District surrounding Burns Lake, have a much greater historical and cultural connection to the First Nations which are currently in the riding of Bulkley-Valley Stikine. We are increasingly working together, year by year, non-aboriginial and first nations peoples alike, to develop sustainable, eco-cultural tourism based industries that will be much more successfull if we are joined together with our "natural" partners as it were to the West. First Nations in our communites traded for millennia with neighboring nations in what is now Smithers, the Hazletons, and the regions further to the West. These historical, geographical and economic ties have not faded with the relatively recent onset of European ways. Artificial boundaries cannot break the ties that bind these peoples together, but they can support and foster strength of commonalities and mutual interest that have pre-exsited for centuries.

    The communities of Fraser Lake and Fort St. James have always been closer in myriad ways to Vanderhoof, and so the negative implications of those communities staying together and joining Prince George in a new riding will be minimal - I would actually presume that most constituents in those towns would welcome such a change as they are, as mentioned earlier, more easterly looking. One of the primary reasons for this is that they are simply closer to Prince George. Therefore, people from Fraser Lake, Fort St. James and Vanderhoof travel to the city and do more business there, and consequently have developed much deeper connections with Prince George than have the people in Burns Lake, for example.

    Houston, without question, being only 45 minutes from Smithers by car, is tied very close to Smithers. Burns Lake, too, is an hour closer to Smithers than it is to Prince George. An hour more driving in winter conditions in our region, where all night, knee-deep snow storms are the norm and not the excpetion, can, literally, be the difference between life and death. And people often choose to or must make these trips, to visit various government ministry offices in Smithers, for necessary shopping, to visit friends and family, and even to see one's sitting MLA in their constituency office.

    What I currently like about our riding system is that the government has proposed that 8 ridings stay in the North, regardless of population. I hope this remains fixed for the foreseeable future, as we in the North face issues that most people living in the South simply do not understand and cannot relate to. While our populations are relatively small, our contributions to the provincial economy, decade after decade, are immense and necessitate that we must have, and deserve, fair represenation in Victoria. Economic contributions that will only increase in as our provincial dependence on resources grow in the coming years and decades.

    Yet to receive fair representation and consideration in the halls of power a thousands kilometres to the South, it is essential that we stand together with like-minded individuals and communities who share the same struggles, challenges and successes - and share similar economies, geography and history. This can only be accomplished by putting Burns Lake and Houson back in the riding in which they truly belong, Bulkley-Valley Stikine.

    Thank you for your consideration and good luck in your deliberations.

    Sincerely,

    Chris Beach,
    School Teacher,
    Burns Lake.



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