The preliminary report of the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission literally divides Langley in half — and combines it with much of western Abbotsford, all the way to the Abbotsford urban area and the Huntingdon-Sumas border crossing.
The current Langley provincial riding held by Mary Polak is reduced somewhat in size. Its northern boundary will be Highway 1, western boundary the City of Surrey and on the east, the boundary runs down Glover Road and includes all of Langley City and most of Brookswood.
However, the two provincial ridings covering the rest of Langley not only get new names, but both become half-Langley, half-Abbotsford ridings. The boundaries are dramatically different from those of the current Fort Langley-Aldergrove riding held by Rich Coleman.
The commission justifies it this way: “Current districts around Langley are well over the provincial average (in population size), necessitating substantial changes to most of the Fraser Valley.
“The proposed Langley area electoral districts are reduced in size (both geographically and in population), requiring the remaining district boundaries to shift east. Major highways are used as natural boundaries to divide the electoral districts.
“The Township of Langley is split by Highway 1 north/south rather than east/west, and the Abbotsford area electoral district boundaries follow Highway 1 and Highway 11 and strive to keep established neighbourhoods together.”
The new Fort Langley-Abbotsford riding covers the area north of Highway 1 and goes east as far as Townline Road, Maclure Road and Clearbrook Road, eventually running north to the Fraser River along Glenmore Road.
It includes a heavily-urbanized portion of Abbotsford near the Mount Lehman Road freeway interchange, as well as the rural areas of Bradner and Mount Lehman in Abbotsford.
It includes a portion of the current Abbotsford West riding, held by Mike de Jong.
The Aldergrove-Abbotsford riding is south of Highway 1. It is located east of the Langley riding, but south of 32 and 36 Avenues, it runs as far west as the Surrey boundary. It continues east all the way to Highway 11, with its southeast corner at the Huntingdon-Sumas border crossing.
It includes a portion of the current Abbotsford South riding, held by Darryl Plecas.
The proposals and maps can be found at the commission’s website, www.bc-ebc.ca.
Public input on the proposed changes is being accepted until midnight, May 26. Comments can be made through the website, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to PO Box 9275, Stn. Prov Govt, Victoria B.C. V8W 9J6.
— with files from Tom Fletcher