The heart of West Vancouver is now officially part of North Vancouver – at least where federal elections are concerned.
Changes to electoral boundaries on the North Shore that carve out the main business district of West Vancouver and plunk it in the North Vancouver riding became official Sept. 22, according to Elections Canada. Any elections called after April 22, 2024 will be conducted under the new boundaries.
Under the change, announced in February this year, the easternmost part of West Vancouver – including Park Royal, Sentinel Hill and all of Ambleside (everything east of 21st Street) – has been cut from the West Vancouver electoral district and added to the North Vancouver riding. (A previous plan had recommended adding half of Ambleside, from 15th Street east, to the neighbouring riding.)
The change was made by an independent commission charged with re-drawing Canada’s electoral map to make the population of ridings across the country more equal in size.
But it also came in the face of significant community opposition.
Patrick Weiler, the Liberal MP currently representing the West Vancouver riding, described the plan last year as “cutting the heart out of West Vancouver to add it as an appendage to another riding.”
Weiler said when he went door-to-door in the area impacted by the change, most people weren’t aware the change was being considered, and those who were aware were opposed to it.
John Weston, the former Conservative MP for the riding, also opposed the change, as did residents of West Vancouver.
But those objections weren’t enough to change the commission’s recommendation. In a report, the commission wrote it was aware of public concerns but said the existing riding of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky represents too great a population, and that dividing West Vancouver was “the only fair and appropriate resolution to the electoral district’s high population.”
Weiler later filed an objection with the commission, suggesting it the eastern boundary of the riding be moved to 11th Street in West Vancouver. But that was also rejected, with the commission concluding that to do so would "leave this electoral district with the highest population in the Lower Mainland Fraser Valley region."
The redrawn electoral map, which would push boundaries of all three North Shore ridings north and west, is part of a larger jigsaw puzzle considered by the electoral boundaries commission as it added one riding to the province of B.C. The additional riding is needed because of population growth in the province. But the creation of a new riding in the southern Interior had a domino effect of boundary alterations in other areas of the province, including several ridings in the Lower Mainland.
Under the riding changes, all West Vancouver between Burrard Inlet and Highway 1 east of 21st Street has been added to the North Vancouver riding, which will be known as North Vancouver-Capilano. The name of the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky riding will remain the same.
Chunks of Lynn Valley previously in the North Vancouver riding–including much of the area to the south of Lynn Valley Road and upper Lynn Valley to the east of Mountain Highway, as well as Capilano University–have also be added to the Burnaby-North Seymour riding. That riding is itself a product of an earlier redrawing of the election map that created a riding spanning Burrard Inlet.
Politically, removing Ambleside from the West Vancouver riding wouldn’t necessarily benefit either Liberals or Conservatives, as the area tends to split its votes between those parties.
Editor's note: an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the name of the West Vancouver riding would change. In fact, the commission opted to retain the current name of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country.