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Christina Lake director pans electoral boundary proposal

The newly re-elected regional district director for Christina Lake says she is against having her community added to a different provincial riding.

Grace McGregor says it doesn’t make sense to move her area, along with part of rural Grand Forks, from Boundary-Similkameen to Kootenay West, as the electoral boundaries commission is recommending.

McGregor says Christina Lake is part of the Boundary, not the West Kootenay, so she would prefer to see the region kept together.

“I know they were trying to even out [population],” she says. “The Boundary’s had a hard time with its identity. Your identity is really important and to start over isn’t very good.”

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McGregor acknowledges that from 2001 to 2009, the region was included in a riding called West Kootenay/Boundary, represented first by Liberal Sandy Santori and then New Democrat Katrine Conroy, who is the present Kootenay West MLA.

However, she would prefer to have the region represented by a Boundary-based MLA.

“We’ll be happy to keep Roly [Russell] as our MLA, even though we really like Katrine Conroy. It has nothing to do with that.”

McGregor said part of her argument will be that if part of the Boundary is included in a Kootenay riding, then it also ought to also be included in the Columbia Basin Trust.

Although she plans to provide feedback to the commission, she’s unhappy the deadline is Nov. 22 and  the closest in-person meetings are in Kelowna and Nelson.

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary board also plans to write a letter expressing concerns about the proposed changes. The letter will be brought to this month’s board meeting for review.

Russell has also expressed his preference for keeping Christina Lake within his riding, even though seeing it hived off could mean slightly less work for him.

Any changes have to be adopted by the legislature by April, to take effect in the next provincial election.

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