Thursday, November 3, 2022

Proposed new provincial electoral district silences Langley City residents’ voices

Langley City resident Sandra Brynjolfson, myself, and Councillor Teri James at the BC Electoral Boundaries Commission public hearing yesterday. Select the image to enlarge.

The independent BC Electoral Boundaries Commission reviews the electoral districts for MLAs every other provincial election. The Commission is mainly concerned with ensuring that each district has similar populations and, as much as possible, contains the same “community of interest.” A “community of interest” doesn’t necessarily mean municipal boundaries but what people consider part of their daily life, including schools, places of worship, parks, recreation, shops, and services.

The BC Electoral Boundaries Commission released its preliminary report on electoral districts. Langley is growing from two to three electoral districts, but where they placed the boundaries needs adjustment.

This map shows the current electoral district, which includes Langley City.

Map showing the current Langley electoral district. Select map to enlarge.

This map shows the proposed new electoral district.

Map showing the proposed new Langley-Murrayville electoral district. Select map to enlarge.

When I think of my “community of interest,” it includes the Langley Regional City Centre. As shown in the map below, this area is a major urban centre for our regional district. It includes Willowbrook and Langley City.

Map of Langley Regional City Centre. Select map to enlarge.

I rarely left this area during the restrictions between 2020 and earlier this year. My family doctor and dentist are in Willowbrook. Even my post office pick-up is in Willowbrook. I frequently shop in both Langley City and Willowbrook. Of course, I shop in Langley City whenever possible.

With SkyTrain coming, the interconnection between Willowbrook and Langley City will strengthen further, though having 1/3rd of Willowbrook Mall in Langley City and 2/3rd in Willowbrook in the Township of Langley is a pretty strong connection today!

Even the delivery of housing services is integrated into the Langley Regional City Centre. For example, the Gateway of Hope emergency shelter is in Langley City, while supportive housing, which helps people transition from experiencing homelessness to being housed, is located in Willowbrook.

These on-the-ground realities are why I was shocked that the newly proposed electoral district cleaves the Langley Regional City Centre in half and tacts on Murrayville. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve visited, not driven through, Murrayville beyond going to the hospital.

The proposed electoral district skews heavily toward the rural areas of Langley, which means that the voice of Langley City residents may be lost in this proposed new electoral district.

For these reasons, I presented at a public hearing yesterday about the proposed new electoral district, asking that any new or adjusted electoral district keep the Langley Regional City Centre whole.

All people who attended the public hearing and provided feedback on the proposed electoral district with Langley City asked for the same thing. Keep the Langley Regional City Centre whole.

You can provide feedback online or attend a virtual public hearing. Please visit the BC Electoral Boundaries Commission website to find out how. You can provide your feedback by the end of November 22nd.

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