Listen Live
HomeNewsCowichan ValleyElectoral Boundary Changes Break Up Riding that 'Makes Sense' According to MLA...

Electoral Boundary Changes Break Up Riding that ‘Makes Sense’ According to MLA Furstenau

BC Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau will not run for MLA in the new Cowichan Valley constituency proposed by the Electoral Boundary Commission ahead of the next provincial election.

The recommended electoral boundary changes will place Shawnigan Lake in a new constituency called Juan de Fuca-Malahat.

That change forced Furstenau to choose between seeking re-election in Juan de Fuca-Malahat, or running in the new Cowichan riding.

She says after much consideration she has opted for Juan de Fuca-Malahat.

In a social media post, Furstenau says it was not an easy decision but Shawnigan Lake is her home and her reason for originally entering politics was to protect the community’s drinking water supply

- Advertisement -

She says it will be sad to see the current boundaries of the constituency changed as the present Cowichan Valley constituency makes sense.

Furstenau says it “captures the connectedness of the Cowichan valley, the people, and the regional district.”

To the north, the commission recommended the creation of a new constituency called Ladysmith-Oceanside.

It would include Ladysmith, Saltair, Cassidy, Nanoose Bay, Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Lasqueti Island.

The new constituency boundaries do not include Chemainus and Crofton, which would become part of the new Cowichan riding.

Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone doesn’t think his community would be well served.

- Advertisement -

He says the riding would be logistically challenging for an MLA, and when considering all planning and challenges faced by communities, it would make it “much more difficult to get effective representation.”

The NDP majority government has now introduced the Electoral Boundaries Act in the legislature to create six new ridings and make several riding boundary adjustments.

Once the legislation is passed, the changes will take effect when the premier calls the next general election.


Full statement from BC Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau, the MLA for Cowichan Valley, as posted on Facebook:

Dear Cowichan Valley,

This week, the provincial government introduced Bill 25, Electoral Boundaries Act, which, if passed, will create six new ridings, and make several riding boundary adjustments. The bill will work its way through the legislative process, and if passed, the changes will take effect when the premier calls the next general election.

One of the ridings that has been adjusted is Cowichan Valley. The new boundary will no longer include my home community of Shawnigan Lake, which is slated to be part of the new Juan de Fuca-Malahat riding.

Shawnigan Lake is my home. It is where I live and where my children have grown up. The reason I got into politics in the first place was because of the work we did in the Shawnigan Lake community to protect our drinking water. If the legislation to change the electoral boundaries passes, I will run as the BC Greens candidate for the new Juan de Fuca-Malahat riding.

While I’m clear on this decision, it was not an easy one to make, and I am sad that I have had to make it. I am sad that the Cowichan Valley riding has been broken up in this way. I am sad that I do not have the opportunity after the next election to continue to represent the whole valley, as I have since 2017. I will always remain a champion for the work that is underway in Cowichan – the ongoing watershed work, the need for affordable housing, and the need for primary care and mental health supports.

As MLA, I have focused on bringing the people, the leaders, and the values of this valley to the centre of my work. The current Cowichan Valley boundary makes sense – it captures the connectedness of the Cowichan valley, the people, and the regional district, and I made this case to the Electoral Boundary Commission when they sought input after their draft report was released last fall.

Since 2014, when I was first elected to the Cowichan Valley Regional District as the Area B director for Shawnigan Lake, I have deepened my understanding, my relationships, and my attachment to this place. I am so proud of the work that so many people in this community have undertaken to take care of each other. It has been an honour to witness your efforts, to hear about obstacles you are facing, and to find ways to remove those obstacles in the BC legislature.

We should all be so incredibly proud of the things we can accomplish when we work together. We have a gorgeous new hospice and new supportive social housing. In the next few years, we will have a new high school, a new police station, more supported housing, and a new hospital – and these are just the physical structures. I have witnessed advocates in the business community and across the social services spectrum work hard to support all of our needs, every day. I am humbled and honoured to work with these groups in advocating for change in provincial policies and programs for housing, health care, environmental protection, public safety, education, child care, sports, mental health and addictions, the child welfare system and so much more.

I am dedicated to being your representative until the next election is called. My constituency office remains open and our staff continue to be available to help anyone who needs support in a provincial matter. We will also continue to provide support to the Cowichan Leadership Group – comprised of the chief of Cowichan Tribes, Duncan and North Cowichan mayors, our MP, me as MLA and Island Health, school district, RCMP representatives – as we work collaboratively to solve problems that cross jurisdictions.

I will continue to advocate for Cowichan with the same fierce determination that I brought to the legislature since I was first elected in 2017. I have always respected the support you showed me when you elected me as your member of the legislative assembly for Cowichan Valley. I will take all the lessons that you have taught me, and that we have learned together, into the new riding, and will continue to credit the work so many of you do every day to make the Cowichan Valley a healthy and safe place to live.

As for politics, I will work to bring forward a BC Greens candidate for Cowichan Valley who will be as deeply committed to this region and this riding as I am, and I will work with with the future MLA of Cowichan with the passion, love, and care that I carry for this valley every single day.

Thank you to all of you, to the community, and to everyone who has been with me on this journey, ever since we came together ten years ago to stand up for our watershed and the community that we all love so much.

- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -
- Advertisement -

Continue Reading

    You found me!