The federal electoral district of Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge could remain much the same. The proposed “dog’s breakfast” riding of Pitt Meadows-Fort Langley, which would have combined parts of those cities with pieces from three others, has been scuttled.
“It seems that they listen to public input – in our riding anyway,” said MP Marc Dalton – the person who compared the first riding changes with canine food.
“When people participate, it does make a difference,” he added.
The current riding of Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge takes in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, bordered by the Pitt and Fraser Rivers, and 288th Street in the east. It is a huge riding for the region, stretching north to Garibaldi Provincial Park.
Under the proposal from the electoral boundaries commission, the eastern boundary will slide further east, taking in significant parts of Mission.
Where the current riding boundary stops before Rolley Lake Provincial Park, and Lake Silvermere, the proposed new boundary goes well past that border. It would take in Silvermere Lake, Silverdale, and continue all the way to Wren Street – which is at Mission’s Walmart store. The riding will also include half of the Stave Lake and the Steelhead rural area of Mission.
The electoral boundaries are re-drawn due to population changes, to create ridings mostly equal in population. The commission was aiming for 116,300 per riding.
The boundaries commission held public hearings from June 6 to Sept. 29, including an in-person meeting in Pitt Meadows.
The first proposal, which included the Pitt Meadows-Fort Langley riding, was roundly criticized at that meeting. The overriding message from the public was to leave Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows alone as a single electoral district, rather than parts of each city being hived off and lumped into a riding with parts of Fort Langley, Surrey, and Port Coquitlam.
Dalton attended and spoke about how difficult the job would be for an MP to service the five cities that would have comprised Pitt Meadows-Fort Langley. He told the commission he would rather see Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows in a single riding, and any adjustment to add population should be made toward Mission. That approach was followed by the commissioners in the revised report.
Dalton noted Maple Ridge and Mission have historically been combined for provincial ridings, and he served for eight years in provincial politics as the MLA for a Maple Ridge-Mission riding.
The report by the commission, outlining its proposed changes to the BC federal electoral map, was tabled in the House of Commons on Wednesday. MPs can submit their objections for 30 days. The report will be reviewed by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The process is expected to complete in September 2023.
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