Editorial — Proposed electoral boundaries not acceptable to Langley or Abbotsford

Redistribution not easy, but two long east-west ridings including both Langley and Abbotsford not acceptable.

The provincial Electoral Boundaries Commission got it drastically wrong, in terms of how it proposes to redraw provincial boundaries in Langley and Abbotsford.

In most parts of the rapidly-growing Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley areas, its proposed new boundaries for provincial ridings make sense. They do not make sense in Langley and Abbotsford.

Instead of moving the Fort Langley-Aldergrove boundary to the west to take into account growth in Langley, much of which is occurring in the Willoughby area, the commissioners split Langley in half along the Highway 1 alignment. But in order to find enough people to fill two of the three ridings, the commission reached deep into Abbotsford, including rural and urban areas west and south of the Abbotsford-Clearbrook town centre area, and going as far east as the Huntingdon-Sumas border crossing.

It would have been far easier to shift Aldergrove and a portion of rural Langley into one of the two Abbotsford ridings — Abbotsford West or Abbotsford South — which now border the Township of Langley.

Aldergrove has much more in common with Abbotsford than Fort Langley, Walnut Grove or Murrayville do.

These long east-west ridings do Abbotsford no good either. Instead of having one representative who can represent Abbotsford strongly, there will be two MLAs (under the proposal) who will try to balance both Abbotsford and Langley issues. The two municipalities aren’t even in the same regional district, and on issues like TransLink or Metro Vancouver’s incineration plans, for example, opinions are sharply different in Abbotsford and Langley.

The commission’s report is preliminary and it is accepting comments until May 26. Community groups, business organizations, political watchers and others who have concerns about these proposed boundaries need to let the commission know that they are not acceptable.

Details of the proposals can be found at http://www.bc-ebc.ca/docs/reports/BC-EBC_Preliminary_Report-March_26,_2015.pdf. It is worthwhile to check out the commission’s proposals and make your views known.

Both Langley and Abbotsford deserve strong provincial representation.