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Lake Cowichan gets its wish in revamped federal riding

Most residents of the Cowichan Valley will be part of riding of a riding called Cowichan-Malahat-Langford in the next federal election if a boundary commission recommendation presented Monday is adopted in Ottawa later this year. - British Columbia Electoral Boundary Commission
Most residents of the Cowichan Valley will be part of riding of a riding called Cowichan-Malahat-Langford in the next federal election if a boundary commission recommendation presented Monday is adopted in Ottawa later this year.
— image credit: British Columbia Electoral Boundary Commission

Lake Cowichan’s concerns have been heard.

The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for B.C. submitted a report in the House of Commons Monday that redraws the province’s federal electoral map and Lake Cowichan is included in a Cowichan-Malahat-Langford riding.

An earlier draft of the report had Lake Cowichan in a Nanaimo-based riding, separate from Duncan, and no one in the town wanted that.

The new proposal is more in keeping with the connection Lake Cowichan maintains with the Cowichan Valley, Lake Cowichan Mayor Ross Forrest said.

“We’re glad because they were going to have us not in the same riding as the rest of Cowichan,’’ said Forrest upon hearing the news for the first time when contacted by the News Leader Pictorial Tuesday.

“This is much nicer. It totally makes sense. Obviously, they took our concerns into consideration. We didn’t want to be isolated.’’

Forrest said current Nanaimo-Cowichan NDP MP Jean Crowder attended Lake Cowichan’s town council meeting last Tuesday and mentioned the report on the changes would be due out this week.

“The good thing is the commission did listen to people who had some concerns,’’ said Crowder in a statement.

Crowder said she hasn’t had a lot of time to look through the report, but, aside from the Lake swap, does not believe it to be substantially different from what the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission originally proposed.

“In their proposals, they had put Lake Cowichan in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, and they had divided the city of Langford,” she said. “They’ve still gone over the Malahat, which a lot of people opposed. Although some points of input from our riding were heard, some other key parts were not.”

The commision’s report for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford lists the population as just under 100,000 at 99,160.

The riding consists of those parts of the Cowichan Valley Regional District comprised of the City of Duncan, the Town of Lake Cowichan, the Municipality of North Cowichan, Cowichan Indian Reserve and Penelakut Island Indian Reserve No. 7, Areas A, B, C, D, E, F and I and part of Area G that includes Dayman Island, Hudson Island, Leech Island, Miami Islet, Penelakut Island, Ragged Islets, Reid Island, Rose Islets, Scott Island, Tent Island and Thetis Island.

It also consists of parts of the Capital Regional District comprised of Subdivision H (Part 2), the Municipality of Highlands, the City of Langford and the part of Subdivision H (Part 1) lying north of the district municipalities of Sooke and Metchosin, and west of Squally Reach.

It does not include Ladysmith, or the Saltair part of Area G.

B.C. will gain six electoral districts as a result of an increase in population. The island region gains one new electoral district, with numerous shifts in boundaries around the island.

MPs now have 30 days to file objections before the commission’s final report is completed and becomes law, probably in June.

—with a file from Ladysmith Chronicle

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