The Village of Valemount has yet to make their formal case for not being a part of the Prince George-Peace River federal riding, but one resident already has the ear of those making the decisions.
Longtime resident John Grogan addressed the three-person Federal Boundaries Commission for B.C. during their public consultation in Prince George Monday afternoon at the Coast Inn of the North.
Village representatives will address the commission in Kamloops on Oct. 11, making their case to be included in the Kootenay-Columbia riding instead of the Prince George boundary.
A recommendation has been made for the village, along with Mt. Robson, to be shifted from their current Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding to accommodate the mandated six new seats for the province in the House of Commons.
Among the arguments against the commission's proposal is that Valemount has nothing in common with the resource-based economies found in their suggested new riding.
Art Kaehn, representing the North Central Local Government Association, made a presentation to the commission giving the association's support for Valemount's recommendation.
"Their rationale makes sense to us," Kaehn said. "Although Valemount was historically a resource-based economy, in recent years they have shifted to being a tourism-based economy and are much better aligned with the tourism-based economies in the Kootenays."
But Grogan said having an element of diversity is important for a riding and that Valemount would get lost amongst the tourism shuffle as part of the Kootenay-Columbia district.
"Would we end up competing with other communities? I see value with being the only community in [Prince George-Peace River] identified as a gateway community," Grogan said.
The 35-year village resident also said there was not much by way of public consultation in the village before their council made the decision to go before the commission with their request.
Commission chair, Court of Appeals Justice John Hall, questioned the ease of access for a federal representative to travel between the Kootenays and Valemount.
"As I looked at all these maps, it seemed to me not readily apparent how an MP from the Kootenay boundary would have ready access [to Valemount]," he said.
Kaehn agreed, but said the North Central Local Government Association was backing Valemount on the tourism aspect.
"I realize there are challenges," he said, but added an MP travelling within the Prince George-Peace River riding would also have a long way to go.
According to Kaehn, the association's view is that these varying factors should hold more weight when redrawing district boundaries in their constituent area than just trying to balance out the population.
Under the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, the population of a district should be within 25 per cent of the average population when you divide the population by electoral districts.