Proposed new provincial riding boundaries would split Langley in half

Electoral Boundaries Commission will be in Langley Wednesday

Public will be able to comment on proposed provincial boundary shifts, which put Langley and Abbotsford together in two ridings.

The BC Electoral Boundaries Commission is hosting public hearings across B.C. to receive public comments about its proposed changes to boundaries of provincial ridings.

The commission is in Langley on Wednesday at the Best Western Plus, 5978 Glover Road, starting at 3:30 p.m. Members of the public who wish to speak to the commission’s recommendations may do so.

The commission is proposing to add two ridings, one in Richmond and one in Surrey. It is also proposing splitting Langley into three ridings, with two of them also containing much of western Abbotsford. They would be separated by Highway 1.

The southernmost riding, to be called Aldergrove-Abbotsford, would run from the Surrey-Langley border in South Langley as far east as the Huntingdon-Sumas border crossing. The northernmost riding, to be called Fort Langley-Abbotsford, would include Walnut Grove and Fort Langley and run as far east in Abbotsford as Clearbrook and Glenmore Roads.

The third Langley riding would be a shrunken version of the existing Langley riding, including Langley City, Willoughby and a portion of Brookswood.

Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman said last week that he wants to take a closer look at the maps and demographics of the proposed ridings which would split most of Langley into two provincial ridings, and combine them with large portions of Abbotsford.

“I’d like to see how they came up with it (the proposed boundaries),” he said.

“I don’t know if people in South Langley at High Point Estates want to be part of the same riding as Abbotsford,” he said.

Coleman pointed out that MLAs for the proposed ridings would have to deal with two different cities, two school districts and a “whole different mix” than they do now.

He said it seems more logical to take the eastern portion of Langley away from his existing riding and combine it with an Abbotsford riding, rather than have two Langley ridings combined with Abbotsford.

Coleman noted that it is hard for a commission to come up with ridings that are fairly balanced in population in most of B.C. However, he said that MLAs today are able to manage their business in a far different way than they used to, with most communications being electronic in nature. He said that, in urban ridings, an extra 10,000 people or so isn’t really a big problem.

He will be speaking to BC Liberal Party officials and expects them to make a presentation to the Electoral Boundaries Commission on the proposed changes in boundaries.

For more information on the BC Electoral Boundaries Commission’s proposals, see www.bc-ebc.ca.

Members of the public who are unable to attend the public hearing today can submit their views about the proposed boundaries on the website, or by email to info@bc-ebc.ca. Deadline is May 26.