New MLAs for Surrey and Richmond and adjustments to other electoral boundaries have been proposed before the 2017 provincial election in B.C.
The B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission recommended the changes after studying population data and touring the province last year. If approved, they will bring the number of MLAs in the B.C. legislature from 85 to 87.
Boundary shifts in fast-growing Surrey would produce two new constituency names, with Surrey South inserted between the existing Surrey-Cloverdale and Surrey-White Rock seats. The other new seat is Richmond-Queensborough, taking in an area of New Westminster to balance the population of the existing constituencies in the region.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Thomas Melnick said efforts were made to keep “communities of interest” together, while equalizing the populations of constituencies as much as possible. Even at that, the population of some urban constituencies is as much as 60 per cent higher than rural seats, where travel by the elected representative is much more time consuming.
The commission, which is required to review boundaries after every election, is prevented from eliminating seats in the Cariboo-Thompson, Columbia-Kootenay and North regions, despite their lower populations.
Other major changes involve shifts in Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack boundaries, and including Hope in the Fraser-Nicola constituency that extends up to Merritt.
The proposals and maps can be found at the commission’s website, www.bc-edc.ca.
Public input on the proposed changes is being accepted until midnight, May 26. Comments can be made through the website, by email to [email protected] or by mail to PO Box 9275, Stn. Prov Govt, Victoria B.C. V8W 9J6.