The B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission has released a preliminary report on proposed changes to the province’s electoral districts, including shifts in the Fraser Nicola riding. (B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission map)

The B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission has released a preliminary report on proposed changes to the province’s electoral districts, including shifts in the Fraser Nicola riding. (B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission map)

Agassiz and Harrison would join Hope’s Fraser Canyon riding in new proposal

Electoral boundary commission’s newest report suggests several changes around the Fraser Valley

Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs could join the Fraser-Nicola electoral riding, making it the same provincial riding as Hope.

This comes from the new preliminary report from the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission, which was released this week.

The initial proposal from the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission mapped out potential new changes that would have seen Hope divided into two different ridings; the west parts of town would belong to a larger Chilliwack riding, while Hope proper would be in a large riding named Coquihalla.

But the commission has now released its preliminary findings following a period of public feedback. In it, there is no mention of the previously proposed Coquihalla riding. The only noticeable change to the Fraser-Nicola riding, which Hope is already a part of, is that Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs would now be included.

Agassiz and Harrison are currently part of the Chilliwack-Kent riding.

All of these proposed changes are due to changing population sizes in neighbourhoods. Electoral areas are regularly redrawn to ensure the populations within them are of similar size to other areas. Each area elects an MLA, so this helps ensure proper representation in Victoria.

It also means that what worked 10 years ago does not work today, as people have left the larger cities to live in Fraser Valley communities. That growth has not signicantally impacted the Fraser-Nicola, however.

“The population of the electoral district of Fraser-Nicola is currently 41 per cent below the electoral quotient, and it is not projected to grow significantly over the next few years. To address this, we propose expanding its boundaries to include the District of Kent and Harrison Hot Springs,” the report states. “These neighbouring communities are located north of the Fraser River and are connected to the rest of Fraser-Nicola by Highway 7. This change increases the riding’s population without significantly expanding its geographical area and keeps related communities together.”

Numerous ridings throughout the Fraser Valley would see similar changes if this proposal were to be approved.

The commission met with the public in communities throughout the province during the development of the proposal. They report that they heard from people at 50 public meetings in 43 communities and received over 1,000 submissions.

They then took three months to write this preliminary report, and will now meet with the public again.

They have scheduled 13 meetings between Oct. 17 and Nov. 8, and two of those are virtual. There are no meetings planned in Hope.

The virtual meetings are meant to discuss all regions and are on Oct. 21 and Nov. 8.

For more information on how to participate in these meetings or provide feedback to the commission, visit bcebc.ca/your-voice.

READ MORE: B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission proposes to add six new ridings

READ MORE: Federal boundary readjustments would change the shape of Abbotsford, Mission and Chilliwack ridings


@CHWKcommunity
jessica.peters@abbynews.com

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