Kootenay Columbia riding has two distinct personalities

The divide between East and West Kootenays apparent from 2011 numbers

The addition of Salmo, Nelson and Kaslo, plus their rural areas, to the Kootenay Columbia riding creates a slightly different picture in the coming election. Numbers from the 2011 election also illustrate that the divide between East and West Kootenay still remains.

In 2011, the riding did not include the West Kootenay communities, and voted 55.9 per cent in favour of the Conservatives and MP David Wilks. The NDP followed with 33.8 per cent. The remaining vote was split 5.7 per cent Green, 3.3 per cent Liberal and 1.3 per cent other (there was an independent candidate in 2011).

Over in the West Kootenay, the communities of Nelson, Kaslo and Salmo, and rural areas were almost a mirror image of that, with 58.5 per cent support for the NDP and 30 per cent for the Conservatives.

Both areas had identical voter turnout at 61 per cent. The addition of the West Kootenay communities adds 18,000 plus potential voters to Kootenay Columbia. In the 2011 election there were just over 60,000 potential voters in the riding.

Taking a closer look at the 2011 results, one can see that Conservative support is generally strongest in the south — Sparwood voted 75 per cent Conservative, Elkford – 69.9, and Fernie rural 72.4 per cent in favour of the Conservatives.

At the northwest of the riding, in Revelstoke, Conservative support was 40.9 per cent, with 43.4 per cent voting NDP. Revelstoke also had the highest Liberal support at 5.5 per cent, and Green support at 8.2 per cent.

Kimberley voted 44.8 per cent Conservative, but the surrounding rural area voted 61.1 per cent for the Conservatives. In Cranbrook, Conservative support was at 61.4 per cent and Cranbrook rural at 66 per cent.