January 30, 2013 - 5:10 PM
A proposed plan that would take Summerland out of the federal Okanagan-Coquihalla riding has upset Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton.
The mayor explains splitting the two communities, which have had close relations for years, is the wrong thing to do.
If the proposed change goes through, Penticton would be in the new riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay. This encompasses Oliver and Osoyoos but not Keremeos.
Summerland would be part of the proposed new Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola riding (currently Okanagan-Coquihalla) which also includes downtown Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Keremeos, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.
The proposal was before the House of Commons, to collect MPs' input, before a final electoral boundaries |commission report expected in June.
“It's a large issue for us. It takes away some of our trading partners out of the mix,” says Ashton.
Another issue is the people in both communities. Many Summerland residents work in Penticton and the same applies to many Penticton citizens. Ashton himself lives in Summerland.
The mayor explains the proposal can change how Summerland and Penticton approach the federal government with issues affecting both.
“Our school boards are the same, our hospitals are the same,” he says.
Any kind of changes to the riding should be made with “common sense and commonalities” in mind he adds.
The new boundaries are scheduled to take effect in 2015 before the next election. The proposal was created to balance the number of voters to around 104,000 in each riding.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013