Bridgeview being lumped in with New Westminster, North Delta being included in Surrey West and Fraser Heights part of Pitt Meadows-Fort Langley.
Well, that’s just some of what the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission is proposing for future election ridings.
On Monday (May 2), the commission for B.C. released a new electoral map that, based on the latest census information, adds one riding in the province, increasing B.C.’s seats in Parliament to 43. The proposed map would also increase the number of Surrey ridings to eight from five, and rename several of them.
Justice Mary Saunders, chair of the three-member commission, said in a press release the commission is proposing several boundary changes, mainly in response to significant but uneven population growth.
“That growth pattern creates a domino effect if we are to be fair and have relative equality between voters in different electoral districts,” Saunders said. “Our proposal necessarily gives attention to what is possible and practical given our varied and rugged geography and our distinct communities. We look forward to receiving public input on it.”
Currently, Surrey is broken down into five federal ridings: Surrey Centre, Surrey-Newton, Fleetwood-Port Kells, Cloverdale-Langley City and South Surrey-White Rock. Two of those ridings, South Surrey-White Rock and Cloverdale-Langley City, include both Surrey and a neighbouring municipality.
But with the new proposed map, Surrey would be broken into eight ridings: New Westminster-Bridgeview, Surrey Centre, Pitt Meadows-Fort Langley, Fleetwood-Port Kells, Cloverdale-Langley City, Surrey West, Delta and South Surrey-White Rock.
And South Surrey-White Rock had the smallest population for a Surrey riding, with 119,672 people based on the 2021 Census.
Surrey’s new ridings, some might say, would be all over the map.
The riding of New Westminster-Bridgeview would take parts of New Westminster-Burnaby and Surrey Centre. The riding, which would have a population of 118,454, would encompass most of New Westminster and Surrey’s Bridgeview neighbourhood along the Fraser River.
Meantime, Surrey Centre would include Fraser Heights and would have a population of 117,699 people.
Fleetwood-Port Kells would no longer stretch to the Fraser River, but would instead be cut off at Highway 1. It would also reach as far east Langley. It would have a population of 116,776 people.
But what about Barnston Island, which is only accessible from the Surrey side of the Fraser River? It would instead be included in the proposed Pitt Meadows-Fort Langley riding. With a population of 116,596, it would include Barnston Island and part of Surrey’s Fraser Heights neighbourhood, as well as Maple Ridge and Port Coquitlam.
Cloverdale-Langley City would stay roughly the same, except for a small chunk taken out of the Sullivan neighbourhood and a larger chunk in Clayton Heights. It would have a population of 118,518 people.
South Surrey-White Rock would also stay roughly the same, except with the Mud Bay neighbourhood excluded. It would have a population of 115,974 people.
The Delta riding would include Mud Bay and southwest Newton, for a total of 117,002 people.
Currently, Delta has one riding but these new proposed boundaries would split the city into three ridings: Delta, Richmond East and Surrey West.
Surrey West would have a population of 115,780 people. Covering part of what is currently Surrey-Newton, Surrey West would cut into North Delta, up into Kennedy Heights in the north and part of the Sullivan Heights neighbourhood in the south.
The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for B.C. is holding 27 public hearings in June and September to gather comments and feedback on the proposed boundaries and related changes to some electoral district names.
In Surrey, there will be two hearings. Both will be on Sept. 13 at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel (15269 104 Ave.). The hearings will be at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. There will also be a virtual hearing online on Sept. 28.
The commission’s main aim in redrawing boundaries is to divide the province into electoral districts that are as close to the electoral quota (population divided by number of allocated seats) as reasonably possible, while taking into consideration “communities of interest or identity, as well as historic and geographic factors,” according to the press release.
Data from the 2021 census shows B.C.’s population increased from 4,400,057 in 2011 to 5,000,879, giving B.C. an electoral quota of 116,300.
– With files from James Smith