Changes to riding pitched

Deciding on boundaries for provincial electoral ridings is a delicate task because of low populations scattered over large areas.

Deciding on boundaries for provincial electoral ridings is a delicate task because of low populations scattered over large geographical areas, said the chair of a commission given the job of recommending changes if necessary.

One suggestion made to the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission when it was in Prince Rupert was to remove the Nass Valley from the Skeena riding and add it to the North Coast riding, said Tom Melnick.

“But I think the direction we got from the people who presented are [that] these are already large areas that are difficult to service for an MLA, so please don’t make them any larger,” said Melnick.

“The temptation might be to make the areas in the north bigger, to balance off the numbers in the south, but you can only do that so much until it becomes unmanageable and unworkable.”

Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin doesn’t think removing the Nass and placing it in the North Coast riding would be a good idea.

“North Coast already is the number one most difficult constituency to represent,” said Austin.

“The last thing I think they would want is more geography. The Nass was in the North Coast constituency for a short time, but it has always traditionally been in the Skeena riding. I think because the Nass Valley has only one road into it, and it comes down to Terrace.”