More Abbotsford residents have added their voices to the opposition against proposed changes to provincial ridings, which would see the city represented by five different MLAs following the next election.
Last week, the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce announced it was strongly opposed to the plan, and supplied a written submission to the Electoral Boundaries Commission, which had released the preliminary report on the changes in March.
The commission periodically reviews electoral boundaries to accommodate changes in population and ensure equal representation.
The three existing ridings in Abbotsford are Abbotsford West, Abbotsford South and Abbotsford-Mission.
In the proposal, sections of neighbouring communities would be combined, creating the electoral districts of Aldergrove-Abbotsford, Fort Langley-Abbotsford, Abbotsford Centre, Chilliwack-Sumas. It would also change the borders of the existing Abbotsford-Mission riding.
The boundaries would split sections of Abbotsford along Highway 1 and Highway 11, with a solely local riding in central Abbotsford.
A submission from Mayor Henry Braun echoed the chamber’s opposition.
The letter states that in Abbotsford and Mission, sharing a riding is logical and appropriate due to a number of shared services – but connecting Langley and Abbotsford will not serve either community well and will reduce the effectiveness of provincial representation.
Braun maintained that using Highway 1 as a divider “ignores the regulatory, operational, economic and land use realities of this region.”
“The proposed boundaries tear our communities apart and put them together in a way that create significant disadvantages for citizens depending on the portion of the riding in which they reside.”
Craig Nichols, executive director of Tourism Abbotsford, also submitted a note of opposition, saying the changes would “fracture the representation of the communities of Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack to the detriment of its citizens…”
Many individual residents also echoed the chamber’s submission, encouraging alterations to the proposal.
Input can submitted online at bc-ebc.ca until 11:59 p.m. on May 26.