Where and who you cast your ballot for in the next federal election in the Tri-Cities could come down to the results of a public hearing this week on proposed changes to the federal electoral districts in the area.
The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for BC will be in Coquitlam Thursday (Sept. 27) to hear submissions from the public on the proposed changes regarding the Tri-Cities.
And among the people expected to make a presentation is NDP MP for Coquitlam-New Westminster Fin Donnelly.
He said he would be bringing forGr ward his concerns over the proposed redistribution of ridings, specifically asking for parts of New Westminster and Coquitlam to remain in the same riding.
Among the reasons, Donnelly argued Sapperton in New West and Maillardville in Coquitlam share historical connections and should stay together.
He also suggested the two ridings share rail and road linkages.
"This is very much a Fraser River riding," Donnelly said.
Currently, there are two ridings in the Tri-Cities: New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam.
Under the proposed boundary line changes, the region will be represented by three MPs - with new riding boundaries for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam, Port Moody-Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam-Pitt Meadows. New Westminster would be moved into the riding with Burnaby East.
The Port Moody-Coquitlam riding will include Coquitlam residents to the south of the Barnet and Lougheed highways, while Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam will become one riding and will include the villages of Anmore and Belcarra, Westwood Plateau, Burke and Heritage mountains, and the northern half of PoCo.
Port Coquitlam could see the most changes. The entire city is currently included in the Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam riding. However, as part of the redistribution, it will be dissected into three distinct parts, sharing voting districts with Coquitlam, Port Moody, and Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.
PoCo Mayor Greg Moore spoke out against the proposed changes at a public hearing last week in Maple Ridge.
He said he's opposed to splitting the city into three ridings, and instead sees an opportunity to have two clear Tri-Cities ridings.
Though the idea of having the ear of three MPs would appear to be a plus, Moore argued under the proposed boundaries, Port Coquitlam would not be the core focus of any one of the federal politicians.
"To have proper representation from three different MPs, we're a pretty tight geographical area in Port Coquitlam, I don't think we'll be served really well," he said, noting he spoke at the Maple Ridge hearing because he wouldn't be able to attend the one in PoCo due to Union of B.C. Municipalities meetings in Victoria.
Meanwhile, Donnelly suggested the commission has a difficult task trying to fit in a new riding in the area, and suggested residents need to come out and speak either for or against the proposed changes.
"I feel that they will [the commission] listen to what people have to say and come out with the best decision," he said.
Residents can attend the only public hearing in the Tri-Cities in Coquitlam, at the Executive Plaza Hotel on Thursday, at 2 p.m.
In total, B.C. will get six new ridings in time for 2015 election.
The final boundary draft will be released in early 2014.