May 25th, 2015
Greetings! My name is Keith Olsen. I am a retired businessman and former Mayor of Princeton. I have lived in the Princeton area since 1998. I made an online submission before Christmas. I have been following the work of the Commission since then. I want to thank you for your hard work. I also want to inform you that I accept the findings in the Preliminary Report.
Even though I do not agree with all the changes made in the Cariboo-Thompson region, I do recognize that cherry-picking what I like and what I do not like would not be in the best interests of the province as a whole. Originally, I wanted to have Princeton remain in Fraser-Nicola, but after reading your logic contained in the Preliminary Report I understand why Boundary-Similkameen would also provide “effective representation” for Princeton.
By the same token, I also agree with the changes the Commission made to Hope and the Fraser Canyon. Fraser-Nicola is a better fit for the Hope area. My community of Princeton would not fit in too well if we were a part of the same riding as the much larger city of Penticton. I understand the rationale provided by presenters at the Hope Hearing who maintained that their interests were drowned out by the urban-based Chilliwack. It makes sense to have similar small towns like Merritt, Hope, Lillooet and Logan Lake in the same electoral district where they share common interests like geography, history, the economy, and transportation links. Putting Hope in with Fraser-Nicola also allowed you to put Princeton into Boundary-Similkameen, which needed more people. The alternative, but unpopular, solution, would be to dismantle Boundary-Similkameen. That would be a non-starter in anyone’s book.
The assertion by some folks in the eastern Fraser Valley that many people from Hope shop in and access health care in Chilliwack, and that THAT should constitute an important “link,” is not valid. We, the people of Princeton, also shop in Kelowna and Penticton, but we have nothing in common with these communities and are not in the same constituency either. Nothing prevents us from shopping there though or going to the regional hospitals there.
I support the recommendations contained in your report. Thank you.