Queensborough residents could find themselves keeping company with Richmond in the next federal election, while mainland New Westminster could join forces with Surrey – but only if a proposed redistribution by the Electoral Boundaries Commission comes to pass.
The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission looks at the boundaries of federal electoral ridings every 10 years, following the census, to adjust as needed for population changes in various areas. The 2022 proposal would see one new riding added in B.C. – Vernon-Lake Country in the North Okanagan – and other boundaries adjusted.
For New Westminster, the existing New Westminster-Burnaby riding would be rechristened as New Westminster-Bridgeview.
With the change, the riding would lose part of its existing territory in Burnaby – a chunk of land in the northwest corner of the riding bounded by Canada Way, Walker Avenue, Burris Street, Griffiths Avenue and Edmonds Street – and, in exchange, gain a triangle of land in Surrey. The new riding would incorporate the areas at the foot of the Pattullo Bridge and in Brownsville, bounded by 96th Avenue in the south and generally following 126th Street to the east.
It would also lose Queensborough, which would join the rest of Lulu Island in the Richmond East riding.
(You can see a map of the proposed boundary changes online.)
The New Westminster-Bridgeview riding would have 118,422 residents, while Richmond East would have 116,764.
Justice Mary Saunders, chair of the three-member commission, said proposed boundary changes around the province were mainly in response to the “significant but uneven” growth of B.C.’s population.
“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 in a media release. “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.”
When the Electoral Boundaries Commission last went through its boundary redrawing exercise in 2012, it also proposed moving Queensborough into the Richmond East riding. The idea met with opposition from the City of New Westminster and residents – and, in the end, it didn’t come to pass.
Public hearing on electoral boundaries set for September in New West
This time around, public hearings will be held around the province in the spring and fall to get input from affected residents, starting on Vancouver Island in June.
In New Westminster, a public hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Inn at the Quay, 900 Quayside Dr.
You can also send comments and feedback to the commission without attending a hearing – either by email or by using its interactive mapping tool. You can find all the details at the Electoral Boundaries Commission's Redistribution 2022 website.