The B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission has released a preliminary report on proposed changes to the province’s electoral districts, including shifts in boundaries in Abbotsford and Mission. (B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission map)

The B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission has released a preliminary report on proposed changes to the province’s electoral districts, including shifts in boundaries in Abbotsford and Mission. (B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission map)

Preliminary report shows less-dramatic changes to Abbotsford ridings, but Mission gets more compact

Previous proposal redrawn boundaries had Abbotsford’s flood-battered Sumas area in Chilliwack riding

Abbotsford’s political boundaries could shift with the next adjustment of its electoral boundaries, but not as much as previously suggested.

The initial proposal from the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission mapped out potential new changes that would have seen the Sumas Prairie taken from Abbotsford-South to join a Chilliwack riding. In that initial proposal, the Abbotsford Airport was in a Langley-Aldergrove riding.

But the commission has now released its preliminary findings following a period of public feedback. In it, the Sumas area and the airport both stay in Abbotsford-South. There are some considerable changes, still.

The report shows a reduction in size of Abbotsford-South on its western edge instead, for example.

This is due to changing population sizes in neighbourhoods. Electoral areas are regularly redrawn to ensure the populations within them are of similar size to other areas. Each area elects an MLA, so this helps ensure proper representation in Victoria.

It also means that what worked 10 years ago does not work today, as people have left the larger cities to live in Fraser Valley communities.

Abbotsford’s three ridings are all listed in the new preliminary findings report: Abbotsford-South, Abbotsford-West and Abbotsford-Mission.

But the one with the biggest change would be Abbotsford-Mission. That riding is currently a large swath from Highway 1 at Sumas Way north to the far end of Stave Lake, encompassing part of downtown Mission, Hatzic, Deroche and Lake Errock.

Mission has grown and made the Abbotsford-Mission riding too large, the commission found, with a population of 67,139 and at a deviation of 16.8 per cent above the ideal size.

The new Abbotsford-Mission would be substantially more compact.

“This riding straddles the Fraser River,” the report explains. “It contains the core of Mission and the northeast part of Abbotsford. As the population of this electoral district is relatively high, we looked at a number of ways to better balance it with its neighbours. We propose boundary adjustments to include more of the centre of Mission and less of Abbotsford, removing part of the riding south of a line bounded by Highway 11, Old Yale Road, and Marshall Road.”

Some neighbourhoods north of Highway 1 would be folded into Abbotsford-South, from parts of Clearbrook to the base of Sumas Mountain.

Abbotsford-West would also become more compact, with neighbourhoods west of Bradner becoming part of Langley-Aldergrove.

Numerous ridings throughout the Fraser Valley would see similar changes.

The commission met with the public in communities throughout the province during the development of the proposal. They report that they heard from people at 50 public meetings in 43 communities and received over 1,000 submissions.

They then took three months to write this preliminary report, and will now meet with the public again.

They have scheduled 13 meetings between Oct. 17 and Nov. 8, and two of those are virtual. There are no meetings planned in Abbotsford.

The virtual meetings are meant to discuss all regions and are on Oct. 21 and Nov. 8.

For more information on how to participate in these meetings or provide feedback to the commission, visit bcebc.ca/your-voice.

READ MORE: B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission proposes to add six new ridings

READ MORE: Federal boundary readjustments would change the shape of Abbotsford, Mission and Chilliwack ridings


@CHWKcommunity
jessica.peters@abbynews.com

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The B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission has released a preliminary report on proposed changes to the province’s electoral districts, including shifts in boundaries in Abbotsford and Mission. (B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission map)

The B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission has released a preliminary report on proposed changes to the province’s electoral districts, including shifts in boundaries in Abbotsford and Mission. (B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission map)

The B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission has released a preliminary report on proposed changes to the province’s electoral districts, including shifts in boundaries in Abbotsford and Mission. (B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission map)

The B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission has released a preliminary report on proposed changes to the province’s electoral districts, including shifts in boundaries in Abbotsford and Mission. (B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission map)

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