Proposed changes to existing provincial electoral boundaries would bring considerable change to Abbotsford and Mission before the 2017 election, combining some regions of the communities with neighbouring municipalities.
The electoral boundaries commission released their preliminary report on Thursday, which outlines proposed updates to provincial boundaries.
There are currently 85 ridings in the province and each is intended to have a similar population. They are reassessed periodically to reflect population changes. The Fraser Valley would see the most substantial changes, states the report, with the addition of a new riding in both Surrey and Richmond.
According to the report, Langley ridings were well over the provincial average, and are proposed to be reduced in size and population – shifting the remaining areas to more eastern ridings.
There are three existing ridings in Abbotsford: Abbotsford West, Abbotsford South and Abbotsford-Mission.
Local regions would be combined with other municipalities, creating the electoral districts of Aldergrove-Abbotsford, Fort Langley-Abbotsford, Abbotsford Centre, Chilliwack-Sumas, along with changes to the existing Abbotsford-Mission.
The boundary changes would split up the existing Abbotsford South. In the proposal, there would be two ridings south of Highway 1 divided at Highway 11. The eastern portion would be the Chilliwack-Sumas district, including much of the city of Chilliwack, and the western portion would be the Aldergrove-Abbotsford district, which includes Aldergrove and the Township of Langley.
North of Highway 1, the westernmost part of Abbotsford – west of Clearbrook – would form part of the Fort Langley-Abbotsford district. Between Clearbrook and Highway 11 would be the Abbotsford Centre district – an exclusively Abbotsford region. It would include neighbourhoods north of Highway 1, west of Highway 11 and east of Clearbrook and Glenmore roads, bordered in the north by the Fraser River.
The Abbotsford-Mission riding would contain the rest of Abbotsford east of Highway 11, north of Highway 1, Fraser Valley Regional District Area H, and the eastern part of Mission.
The western area of Mission be incorporated into the Maple Ridge-Mission electoral district.
With the release of the preliminary report, residents can now submit input online at bc-ebc.ca, or by email or mail by 11:59 p.m. on May 26.
There will be public hearings in communities across B.C. in April and May. The input will be analyzed over the summer before the final proposal is submitted as recommendations to the Legislative Assembly by Sept. 25.