EDITORIAL: Riding changes unacceptable

The provincial Electoral Boundaries Commission got it remarkably wrong in terms of proposed changes to provincial boundaries ...

The provincial Electoral Boundaries Commission got it remarkably wrong in terms of proposed changes to provincial boundaries in Abbotsford and Langley.

In most parts of the rapidly growing Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley areas, the redrawn provincial ridings make sense.

That’s not the case here, as recently noted by the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Henry Braun, who sent letters of opposition to the commission.

From its current three, Abbotsford would see five MLAs, four of whom would also  represent significant portions of Langley, Fort Langley, Mission or Chilliwack. One riding would be solely within Abbotsford.

Instead of moving the Fort Langley-Aldergrove boundary to the west to take into account growth in Langley, the commissioners split Langley in half along Highway 1. But in order to find enough people to fill two of the three ridings, the commission reached deep into Abbotsford, including rural and urban areas west and south of the Abbotsford-Clearbrook town centre area, and going as far east as the Huntingdon-Sumas border crossing. At the same time, the commission included a portion of Chilliwack into the most eastern Abbotsford riding.

These decisions serve none of the communities well.

There will be four MLAs juggling Abbotsford, Langley, Mission and Chilliwack issues. Langley and Abbotsford aren’t even in the same regional district, and Abbotsford isn’t in the Metro Vancouver area, so major transportation issues such as TransLink aren’t relevant here.

The commission is accepting comments until May 26. Community groups, business organizations, political watchers and others who have concerns about these proposed boundaries need to let the commission know that they are not acceptable.

For more details, or to provide input, visit bc-ebc.ca.

Make your views known.