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Chilliwack provincial ridings could have radically redrawn boundaries by next election

Feedback being sought on proposed changes until Nov. 22 by B.C. electoral boundaries commission
Current provincial electoral boundaries for Chilliwack and Chilliwack-Kent (left) and the proposed changes to create Chilliwack North and Chilliwack-Cultus Lake. (B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission)

Big changes are proposed to redraw the boundaries of Chilliwack’s two provincial electoral districts by the B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commission.

The reconfigured electoral ridings of Chilliwack, and Chilliwack-Kent would become Chilliwack North, and Chilliwack-Cultus Lake respectively, as a way of balancing out the population of both ridings.

Feedback from the public on the proposed changes is being accepted until Nov. 22 by online submission, email or post.

While the Chilliwack riding, as it exists, is very small geographically, the much larger Chilliwack North riding would encompass Sumas Mountain, parts of Harrison Hot Springs, and Harrison Mills – but not Agassiz.

The sprawling Chilliwack-Kent riding would lose the northern Harrison section, and would concentrate on the south side of Chilliwack, Cultus Lake and Chilliwack River Valley.

Chilliwack city council was slated to receive the preliminary report mapping out the proposed changes at its Nov. 15 afternoon meeting.

The boundaries commission has been actively encouraging British Columbians to share their views on these recommendations.

“Public input from people across the province is vital to our process,” said Justice Nitya Iyer, chair of the commission. “We encourage anyone who has not already provided input to do so before the deadline by filling out our website survey or by writing to us directly.”

The report proposes adding six new ridings, including a new Langley riding, increasing the size of legislative assembly from 87 to 93 seats.

Under the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, a boundaries commission must be appointed after every second provincial election to review and propose changes to provincial electoral districts in B.C. If approved by the legislative assembly, the proposed boundaries will be in effect for the next two provincial elections.

The commission’s final report must be submitted by April 3.

Here is what the preliminary report says about proposed changes for Chilliwack ridings:

”Chilliwack-Cultus Lake - This riding includes part of the current Chilliwack-Kent electoral district south of the Fraser River, uniting it with other South Fraser communities of Sardis, Rosedale, Bridal Falls, Popkum and Cultus Lake. We propose moving Harrison Hot Springs and the District of Kent into Fraser-Nicola to better balance the population of both ridings.

Chilliwack North - This riding is centred on downtown Chilliwack and includes Greendale, Yarrow and Sumas Mountain, as well as Deroche, Dewdney and the areas north of the Fraser River around Harrison Lake that were previously in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent. Adding communities north of the Fraser River to this riding brings its population in line with neighbouring electoral districts.”

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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