The B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission is proposing an additional six ridings in the province, which would increase the total number of Legislative Assembly members to 93.
The recommendation was announced on Monday as part of a preliminary report.
The non-partisan commission — which always includes a judge or retired judge, the chief electoral officer and a person nominated by the speaker of the Legislative Assembly — undertakes a review of the provincial riding boundaries after every second provincial general election.
Four of the six new proposed ridings would be in Metro Vancouver, including one each for Burnaby, Langley, Surrey and Vancouver. The commission recommends one additional riding in the Kelowna area and one in Langford in the Capital Regional District.
According B.C. Supreme Court Justice Nitya Iyer, who chairs the commission, the 2021 census reported 300,000 more people living in the province since 2016, and adding ridings would maintain a level of democratic representation.
She said the commission travelled to 43 communities across the province and held 50 public meetings. It received more than 1,300 submissions between March and May of this year.
"Much of what we heard was about the need for more representation," said Iyer.
As well as creating new ridings, the commissions recommends altering the boundaries of 71 ridings to adjust to the latest census.
What happens next?
The commission will now look for feedback from the public on its proposal, including more in-person and virtual public meetings from mid October to early November. It will then begin working on its final report.
In April, the report will be submitted to the Legislative Assembly, which will have the final say on which recommendations are approved or rejected.
It's expected that Elections B.C. will take some time to implement any changes, but they will be in effect in time for the next provincial election.
A copy of the commission's 224-page preliminary report can be downloaded from its website here.