Submission by LeRoy Wagner
My name is LeRoy Wagner. I have lived in Lower Nicola for 55 years. I have served 18 years on the TNRD Board and 50 years on the Lower Nicola Water Board.I do not belong to any political party and consider myself an independent.
I have read your Preliminary Report on electoral boundary redistribution, including your discussion regarding the changes proposed for Fraser-Nicola and the Cariboo-Thompson Region. I want to thank you for your extensive work and state my support for the changes you propose for Hope and Princeton.
Your recommendation to move Hope and the Fraser Canyon communities of Boston Bar, Spuzzum and Yale into Fraser-Nicola is a positive step. This area used to be an integral part of our constituency then called Yale-Lillooet for as long as I can remember. It was unfortunate that the Hope area was hived off our electoral district in 2009. That decision did not result in effective representation for these small towns in the Fraser Canyon. As a matter of fact, there was very little in common between Chilliwack and the Hope area.
Hope and the Fraser Canyon have been and continue to be intimately linked to other Interior communities like Lytton, Spences, Lillooet and Goldbridge to the north along the Fraser River, and also to Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Logan Lake, Merritt, Douglas Lake and Princeton to the east and northeast. All these small rural towns and villages are inter-connected by common interests, i.e., geography, history, transportation routes (historic “Indian” trail, roads and railroads), the Gold Rush, forestry, mining, tourism, ranching and the Nlaka’pamux Nation.
The boundaries of the traditional Nlaka’pamux Territory in British Columbia are almost identical to the electoral boundaries of Yale-Lillooet: the Nlaka’pamux territorial boundaries start at the US border near Princeton; head northeast to include Douglas Lake, Logan Lake, and Ashcroft; arch westward half way to Lillooet; and then turn south to include Lytton, Spences Bridge, Kanaka Bar, Boothroyd, Boston Bar, Spuzzum and Yale, and up to Hope and on to the US border again. This territory includes all the Bands of the Nlaka’pamux people. Re-unitting Hope with Fraser-Nicola again also re-unites the entire Nlaka’pamux tribe under one electoral district. I believe it would also be appropriate to call this re-united riding Yale-Lillooet again and urge the Commission to do so in the Final Report.
Although Princeton was a part of historic Yale-Lillooet, your decision to shift it to Boundary-Similkameen is a logical move, given that the latter riding is under-populated. Otherwise, Boundary-Similkameen risks getting eliminated altogether through absorption by neighbouring under-populated ridings. This was actually what happened in the 1999 boundaries redistribution process as Keremeos was added to Yale-Lillooet and all the communities east Osoyoos were added to the Kootenays Region. The remaining part (Oliver, Osoyoos and Okanagan Falls were added with Penticton.
I am happy with the changes your report proposes. They are positive for the Cariboo-Thompson Region and for the province as a whole. These changes are also necessary and defensible in order to deal with the pressures posed by population growth in communities in the Fraser Valley and Surrey.
Again, I support the Preliminary Report.
LeRoy Wagner, Lower Nicola