My name is Mo Ollek and I have lived in the Nicola Valley since 1993. I moved here after spending 15 years in the Lower Mainland. I am a high school teacher and enjoy the laid back rural lifestyle enjoyed in Merritt and the surrounding areas.
I fully support the Electoral Boundaries Commission's recommended changes to both Hope and Princeton as outlined in the Preliminary Report.
The Report puts Hope/other communities in the Fraser Canyon back where they belong--with other rural communities in the Cariboo-Thompson Region such as Merritt, Ashcroft, Lillooet and Logan Lake. This change will result in more “effective representation” for the residents of the Hope area by including them with communities with similar realities and interests. In the past, having Hope in with an urban centre like Chilliwack would be like putting Keremeos or Oliver in with the much larger City of Penticton – their voices would be drowned out. While we do not have proportional representation in British Columbia, putting like cities and communities with similar ones and gives more weight and representation to each vote. It makes the vote count when it is 1 of 20000 rather than 1 of 200000.
Moving Hope into Fraser-Nicola has allowed you to move Princeton into Boundary-Similkameen in order fix the population deviation problem in my electoral district. Princeton’s will continue to share commonalities or “community interests with the other small, rural communities in Boundary-Similkameen as it did in Fraser-Nicola. No community is large enough to dominate the others.
Boundary-Similkameen was over the 25% deviation from the average population for provincial constituencies. That was solved by the changes made to Fraser-Nicola’s boundaries, specifically to Hope and Princeton.
Boundary-Similkameen’s communities, like Princeton, depend upon resources derived from the land base and from the fruits of the tourism industry. I believe it makes sense to group Princeton with other communities with similar economic drivers.
I disagree with the people who call this a big change. Separating Hope from the Fraser Canyon in 2009 was the big change; your report sets things right. The good people of Hope can still continue to shop in Chilliwack and access health care there without belonging to the same constituency. The people in Princeton shop in Penticton, Merritt and Kelowna, and we also access our regional hospitals in Penticton and Kelowna. This will continue.
The changes recommended in your Preliminary Report also fixes the problem that was introduced in 2009 when different Aboriginal communities of the same N’laka pamux Nation were split into two districts when Hope and the Fraser Canyon were separated from Yale-Lillooet. Now, all 20 Indian Bands of the N”laka pamux Tribe situated in Canada are, once again, housed within Fraser-Nicola. The Aboriginal people in the Fraser Canyon and in the Reserves surrounding Hope were not consulted in 2009 when those changes were made to take Hope out of Yale-Lillooet.
Now that Hope and Yale have, once again, been re-united with Fraser-Nicola it is important that the constituency ought to be called by its historic name of “Yale-Lillooet”.