Riding boundaries might be changed

In all likelihood, MP James Lunney won't be running for office again in the Nanaimo-Alberni riding.

That's not because he doesn't want to continue serving his constituents, but rather because the riding probably won't exist by the time voters go to the polls in 2015.

In an interview Friday, Lunney said the Electoral Boundary Commission's proposed addition of six new ridings in B.C. to account for the province's growing population will see one extra seat created on Vancouver Island — necessitating significant boundary changes to the existing ridings.

"Nanaimo-Alberni won't exist," the Conservative Party MP said. "It will be re-branded as Courtenay-Alberni. It's a significant shift, no matter how you slice and dice it. What it does is put northward pressure here because the extra riding takes space from the Malahat. The real problem for us though is Powell River, which, with 20,000 people, has been added to Vancouver Island North. So we have a push to move north."

Lunney's Nanaimo office currently sits in what would become Nanaimo-Ladysmith, while his home in Coombs would sit in the Courtenay-Alberni riding. That, he said, means he will have some difficult decisions to make when it comes time to decide where he wants to run.

"I have two offices, one in Nanaimo and one in Port Alberni," Lunney said. "I live in Courtenay-Alberni, and the Oceanside area would be central on the east side of the riding. The natural riding for me to run in would be to maintain my base in Courtenay-Alberni. I still live in that riding, but I have done a lot of work in what would be Nanaimo-Ladysmith but I think the MP should live in the riding he's running in."

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