Well, I’m going to make a bit of a political ramble this week. The new Kootenay Columbia riding is proposed to be expanded to include various parts of the West Kootenay. I have to say I’m not surprised because the last time I saw David Wilks, we spoke about this prospect and I’m happy to say the expansion wasn’t quite as wide geographically as we feared at that time. To say that this is a tough riding to cover physically is a gross understatement.
We’re all aware that it’s difficult to cover rural areas and encompass minimum population requirements in an efficient manner. However, I really must question the sensibility of dividing Fruitvale and Montrose from Trail. The buzz in the Kootenay Boundary for years has been on how to create a greater Trail area with even some talk of amalgamation. The communities of Fruitvale, Montrose, Trail, Warfield and Rossland are now each incorporated and have councils to make decisions on their unique situations. They co-operate on common ground situations in many ways, one of them being participation— along with the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary — on the Lower Columbia Community Development Team.
I’m a former member of that team and and curious as to whether adding another Member of Parliament to the mix may or may not be an effective method to getting things done. I suppose a lot could be said for variety especially as the history of the two ridings is very polarized with the NDP traditionally holding the British Columbia Southern Interior riding and a Conservative stronghold in the Kootenay Columbia. The group would possibly have the ear of at least one member of the government.
Travel within the riding isn’t getting any easier as another pass is now likely involved in ground transportation to get from one end to the other. A quick Google search says it’s an 802 kilometre trip from Montrose to Nakusp via Cranbrook and Revelstoke.
This doesn’t take into account a detour to the Elk Valley in order to take in Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford and area. Spending time in the riding doesn’t sound like a walk in the park now does it?
Marilyn Berry is the publisher of The Valley Echo.