(TRI-CITIES) September 27, 2022 — Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce CEO Leslie Courchesne spoke at the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for BC’s Public Hearing in Coquitlam today, to recommend South Port Coquitlam not be moved out of its Tri-Cities riding. Read her statement below in full. For more information on the commission and the proposed new boundaries, visit Federal Redistribution 2022.
Presentation to Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission of BC
On behalf of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce board of directors and membership, thank you for the opportunity to speak to you tonight, and thank you for the work you are doing. My name is Leslie Courchesne, and I’m the CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber, and we represent more than 800 organizations operating within Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra.
I am here tonight to ask you not to move south Port Coquitlam out of the two Tri-Cities federal electoral districts.
The Tri-Cities region shares an identity and kinship that has been formed over many decades. We share common issues. We are served collectively by one school district (SD43), by area-focused local news, the Tri-City News and Tri-Cities Dispatch, and of course, by one Chamber of Commerce. Just over 50 years ago, the three separate city Chambers here joined together to form the Tri-Cities Chamber, as they recognized then the greater strength these communities have when they unite. Also of note, in terms of the provincial government, the Tri-Cities is neatly divided into four ridings, within the Tri-Cities boundaries.
We are bordered naturally by the Fraser River to the south, Pitt River to the east, and a provincial park, watershed and forests to the north. And to the west, largely along a pioneer road.
And the Tri-Cities is booming with development. The 2021 census reported our population at nearly 244,000, and the Metro 2050 report by Metro Vancouver projects our population to be 316,000 by 2030.
We appreciate the Commission’s goal to create uniform electoral districts across Canada, with the understanding there may be opportunities for exceptions to the quota of 116,300 per district.
Please consider an exception for the Tri-Cities. The Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act permits a deviation of up to 25% more per district. With the Tri-Cities population at 244,000, divided roughly in half between two federal electoral districts, this can fall well within the allowable limits.
Under your current proposal, with south Port Coquitlam joining the Pitt Meadows-Fort Langley electoral district, constituents could potentially face driving over two bridges – the Pitt River and the Golden Ears – to visit their MP’s office in Fort Langley. This change effectively segregates south Port Coquitlam from its natural region, the Tri-Cities. These potential new boundaries do not make sense, and would be much more difficult to manage for the MP, other levels of government, and the constituents. The Tri-Cities has been served very well by our two electoral districts, and two MPs.
Madam Justice Saunders, Dr. Carty and Mr. Ladyman, thank you again for this opportunity to speak to you tonight. The Tri-Cities Chamber respectfully requests the Commission consider delaying any change to the electoral boundaries for the Tri-Cities until the next review period.
I appreciate your time to consider this position of the Tri-Cities Chamber in your deliberations. Thank you.
Since 1971, the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce has been the largest business association serving Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore, and Belcarra, now representing 800+ organizations from every sector. The Chamber works to foster economic development, provide connections and benefits, and influence public policy at all levels of government to ensure strong business and strong communities. The Tri-Cities Chamber is an active member of the BC and Canadian Chambers of Commerce.
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