Drawing the boundaries of new federal ridings is never an easy task. The goals of keeping populations roughly equal from riding to riding, while also trying to keep them within sensible boundaries, is always going to result in some compromises.
That said, the new proposed redistribution of electoral districts, released May 2, makes an unholy mess of Langley and several of its neighbours.
The worst offender is undoubtedly the newly created riding of Pitt Meadows-Fort Langley.
Yes, you read that correctly, but that isn’t the half of it. The riding begins to the west with a chunk of Port Coquitlam, takes in most of Pitt Meadows, a sliver of northeast Surrey, then covers the western half of Maple Ridge up to 224th Street, and all of Langley north of Highway 1.
One of the purposes of an electoral district is to create regions whose residents have some common shared interests. Their elected MP can then represent those interests in Ottawa.
What shared interests are there for the residents of this proposed riding? When it comes to roads and transport, some of them want upgrades to Highway 1, others to the Lougheed. Residents live in neighbourhoods as diverse as high rise condos and apartment towers all the way to multi-acre family farms on both sides of the Fraser River floodplains.
People in Pitt Meadows have more in common with people from Maple Ridge than they do with folks in Walnut Grove. And Walnut Grove and Fort Langley residents have more in common with those in Willoughby and Langley City than they do with those in Port Coquitlam.
Cutting those areas off from one another and then jamming them together makes no sense.
Pitt Meadows-Fort Langley has a distinct feel of being the bits that were left over.
Here’s hoping there’s a better way to draw the map before the final plan is approved.