Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden called the proposed new federal riding of Pitt Meadows-Fort Langley a “horrendous piece of work,” and his council will write the Electoral Boundaries Commission of B.C. to oppose it.
Morden’s assessment was similar to that of Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP Marc Dalton, who called it “a dog’s breakfast,” soon after an announcement by Electoral Boundaries Commission of B.C. of a riding that would take in parts of five different cities.
The new Pitt Meadows-Fort Langley riding would stretch from 224th Street in Maple Ridge, through Pitt Meadows, and take in much of Port Coquitlam to the west, including almost all of the Mary Hill Bypass.
On the south side of the Fraser River, this riding would be bordered by 276th Street in the east, to 168th Street in the west, taking in all areas north of Highway 1. The area would include the Langley neighbourhoods of Walnut Grove, Fort Langley, and rural Glen Valley, along with a sliver of northwestern Surrey, and Barnston Island in the Fraser River.
Maple Ridge council reviewed a letter from Ron McKinnon, the MP for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam – another critic of the proposed riding.
“To sever Port Coquitlam in half and include the southern part with Pitt Meadows and Fort Langley does not make any sense, and I will vigorously oppose the commission’s proposal,” reads his letter to council.
“Fortunately, the Act requires public hearings before issuing its final report, and I encourage the city to make a representation to the commission.”
There was not a good word said about the riding at the Maple Ridge council table.
Morden said he can’t imagine how an MP could do the job of serving the five cities involved, and called Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows a “tidy block” for a riding. The boundary commission was drawing blocks of 116,000 population, and the two cities were at 110,000 according to the latest census data.
Coun. Judy Dueck said Maple Ridge should work with the other cities involved to oppose the riding.
“First off, these boundaries make absolutely no sense to me – even the proposed name Pitt Meadows-Fort Langley…” she said, noting it takes in about half of Maple Ridge’s population, half of Port Coquitlam and parts of Surrey. She called it “very, very challenging.”
Coun. Chelsa Meadus said Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows experience similar challenges, and infrastructure built in Maple Ridge benefits people in Pitt Meadows, and vice-versa.
“I feel our area may be neglected as a result of this change, and that’s my biggest concern,” said Meadus.
Pitt Meadows Mayor Bill Dingwall said the issue is coming up on his council’s agenda, and he expects his council colleagues will oppose the riding.
“It makes no sense, practically or geographically,” said Dingwall. “The connection is east-west, not north-south.”
Metro and Translink deal with Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows as a northeast sector, he noted, and the two cities have historically shared in facilities such as the Ridge Meadows Hospital and the Pitt Meadows Airport.
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