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RDKB pans proposed changes to federal riding boundaries

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary is crying foul over proposed changes to federal riding boundaries that would see parts of the West Boundary added to an Okanagan constituency.

The original proposal released last year by the electoral boundaries commission called for Keremeos to be added to the South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding and part of Penticton to be split into a different riding, but did not affect the Boundary at all. While that draft was subject to public feedback, the latest revision is not.

Under the plan, most of the Highway 33 corridor from Kelowna to south of Beaverdell would become part of a riding to be known as Okanagan Lake West–South Kelowna. That doesn’t sit well with director Sharen Gibbs.

“Historically, the whole of the RDKB has been in the same federal electoral district and our collective advocacy has been a strong and effective one when we’ve had to lobby our MP on issues of regional concern,” she said in a news release.

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The RDKB is asking residents who oppose the changes to contact MP Richard Cannings by March 6, as he plans to raise an objection in the House of Commons.

“The realignment of boundaries strips the RDKB of its identity, splits the region, aligns us with areas that have different social, cultural and economic concerns and imposes a federal political divide within our regional district which would only serve to weaken our voice,” said RDKB chair Linda Worley.

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