My name is Anne Vohradsky. I have lived in Merritt for 11 years. I follow the provincial political scene closely.
I had a chance to look at the changes proposed in your Preliminary Report. I must say, given the enormity of your task, the Commission has done a really good job on the report. I want to thank you for drawing boundaries for our constituency that my friends, neighbours and constituents have been calling for. The community interests of Hope, Yale, Boston Bar, Boothroyd and Spuzzum are very closely aligned with the interests of other similar communities like Merritt, Lytton, Spences Bridge, Ashcroft, Douglas Lake and Lillooet. I agree with your rationale that this will provide “more effective representation” for the residents of the Hope area. I was dumb-founded when Hope and the Canyon were removed from Yale-Lillooet in 2009. It did not make any sense. Chilliwack is urban and Hope is rural in every way, including the economy and way of life. Chilliwack is growing and the Hope area is witnessing population decline.
I was not in favour of losing Princeton to Boundary-Similkameen. However, after reading your reasons for doing it (as outlined in the report) I understand why it was done. I agree that Boundary-Similkameen is very similar to Fraser-Nicola. Princeton has a lot in common with communities like Oliver, Osoyoos, Okanagan Falls and Keremeos, such as tourism, a resource economy and transportation links. Beside, where else do you bring in population to add to Boundary-Similkameen to bring it under the 24% deviation?
Just as Princeton’s interests will continue to be served well in Boundary-Similkameen, Hope’s interests will actually be served better in a reconstituted Yale-Lillooet electoral district, as was the case for decades until 2009. I believe a name change is in order as well in order to better reflect the changes made to the constituency.
Again, I want to thank the Commission for a job well done.