To: B. C. Electoral Boundary Commission
Kamloops Hearing, Coast Kamloops Hotel, Kamloops, BC
Presented by: Walter Vohradsky
2201 Parker Drive,
Merritt, BC V1K 1J1
Date: May 13, 2015
Good morning Commissioners:
My name is Walter Vohradsky. I am a retired public servant, having retired as an Operations Manager for the Chilliwack Forest District in 1997. I have lived in Merritt since 2003. Thank you for the opportunity to make this presentation.
I did an on-line submission during the preliminary round before Christmas. I was one of many people who had requested the Commission to make an addition to our constituency. I made a case to bring Hope back into the riding. I am very happy to say that you listened to my concerns and to the concerns of my neighbours and the concerns of the people of Hope who called for the same change. I thank you for that.
At that time, I had pointed out one important principle the Commission was considering when formulating electoral districts: that was to unite communities that shared common links or 'interest', or create 'communities of interest'; contrary to the recent partisan campaign taking place in this riding right now to reverse your recommendation. Hope has a really long history of being connected to the original “Yale” Electoral District created in 1871, the year that British Columbia joined the Canadian Confederation; then to the “Yale-West” Electoral District in 1894; then back again to “Yale” Electoral District in 1903; and finally in 1966 to the successor “Yale-Lillooet” Electoral District created from 2 of the original 12 constituencies called “Yale” and “Lillooet”; A one hundred and fourty-five year history, of which, only six years, Hope, has not been a part of that history.
This connectivity was based on the principle that member communities shared common linkages through their common geography, history, economy, and rural way of life. The people of Hope shared similar influence with their elected MLA's on an equal level as the other small member communities such as Merritt, Lytton, Lillooet, Ashcroft, Princeton, Yale, and Logan Lake during that time. Though the common linkages and interests never stopped, unfortunately in 2009, against the objections of the people of Hope and the First Nations in the area, Yale-Lillooet was separated into two ridings. However, when small communities are lumped in with bigger urban centres they lose their influence. Such has been the case with Hope and its local area when it was joined with Chilliwack in 2009.
I am glad the current Commission recognized the wrong that was done in 2009 and re-instated Hope, Yale, Boston Bar and Spuzzum back into Fraser-Nicola, their natural constituency that existed since 1871. There is nothing stopping the people of Hope from continuing to shop for their goods and services in Chilliwack, including health care. Your rationale of achieving “effective representation” is sound. I believe changing the name back to Yale-Lillooet would be very appropriate at this juncture, and humbly request the Commission to do that as well.
Re-instating Hope (with its 12,000 people) into a renamed Yale-Lillooet Electoral District has also allowed you to move nearly 5,000 people in the Princeton area from our riding into Boundary-Similkameen. I fully appreciate the challenge the Commission has with maintaining Princeton within the existing Fraser-Nicola boundaries, given the pressures of population distribution here and elsewhere. I understand this was also done with a view to maintaining effective representation.
Overall, I believe you have done a good job of balancing the needs of high-growth and stagnant or negative-growth regions of the province. I support your recommendations.
Again, I thank you for your time.