Abbotsford residents won’t share MLAs with Langley or Chilliwack after the next provincial election, as the Electoral Boundaries Commission has decided against splitting up the city.
The Abbotsford-Mission district, currently represented by Liberal MLA Simon Gibson, has been extended on its southeast flank to follow Highway 1, instead of Dawson and McKee roads. Abbotsford West, held by Liberal Michael de Jong, has been redrawn all the way to Sumas Way, instead of stopping on Gladwin Road in the Matsqui Prairie area. Abbotsford South, represented by Liberal Darryl Plecas, has been expanded west to encompass Aldergrove.
The new ridings will be used in the next provincial election, currently scheduled for May 2017. The adjustments are being drawn province-wide to account for population shifts and growth. All three Abbotsford ridings have experienced significant population growth since the boundaries were last redrawn in 2008.
The commission, led by Justice Thomas Melnick, suggested in March that Abbotsford share two ridings with Langley and one with Chilliwack. This proposal, which split up the city along Highway 1 and Sumas Way, was met with negative feedback and abandoned.
“We heard that Abbotsford does not share a strong community of interest with Chilliwack or western Langley,” the commission’s final September report read. “Therefore, we propose Abbotsford districts that are largely within Abbotsford municipal boundaries.”
The Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce supports the decision.
“We are satisfied that the commission has listened to the strong, united voice coming from our community,” said chamber president Josh Bach.
“Based on the final report recommendations, we can continue to enjoy effective representation on local issues.”