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Port Coquitlam mayor slams 'Frankenstein' proposal for new federal riding

New federal ridings have been proposed for B.C. and not everyone agrees with how they are lining up. In Port Coquitlam, council claims the plan would divide the city and "dilute" the voice of citizens.

Port Coquitlam council is against a new federal riding proposal that would split the city in two.

Calling the redistribution proposal something out of a "Frankenstein lab," Mayor Brad West called on his fellow councillors and the community to strongly oppose the idea.

Today (May 17), council voted to send a letter to the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for B.C. expressing its opposition towards the plan.

"It’s just a whole bunch of cities thrown in together — no slight to other cities," West said.

"Suffice to say people in PoCo aren’t going to necessarily have the same objectives as the other cities in the riding and it will dilute our voice in the community."

In the proposed plan, north Port Coquitlam would be included in Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam but the south portion of the city would be included with Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge and Fort Langley in another riding.

West believes the change would defeat efforts to unite the city, which is divided by the railway into north and south.

"It would heighten that sense of divide that sometimes creeps in."

West is also concerned an MP would have a hard time finding an office that is convenient to citizens travelling between rural Fort Langley in the east and suburban Port Coquitlam in the west.

Maple Ridge council has also said it opposes the plan, he adds. 

Coquitlam–Port Coquitlam MP Ron McKinnon spoke to the Tri-City News last week in believing the commission’s recommendations "make no sense" and he’ll be advocating for an alternative.

Starting June 6, the commission is set to host 27 public hearings across B.C. to gather feedback on its planned realignments.

In the Tri-Cities, the hearing is set for Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. at the City Centre branch of the Coquitlam Public Library (1169 Pinetree Way).

- with files from Janis Cleugh, Tri-City News