Previous Public Input Received
The following input and submissions were gathered by the commission through public hearings held in 29 communities throughout B.C. from September to November 2014. The public also provided input through the online submission form, by email and by mail to be reviewed and considered as the commission develops a Preliminary Report for further public input.
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Posts

    Chad Pederson, Richmond
    2014-10-28

    B.C. Electoral Boundaries Commissioners:

    It’s my pleasure to submit my ideas for modifying Richmond’s riding boundaries.

    For background, I am a ten year resident of Richmond and I have lived in three distinctly different areas of our city – Steveston, McLennan North and South Arm. I have also been actively involved with a number of different community organizations including Richmond Hospital Foundation, Steveston Historical Society, Richmond City Centre Community Centre Association and the e-Rotary Club of Lulu Island. I believe each of these experiences has given me a unique understanding of my city, and our community, which has helped form this submission.

    Since the last electoral redistribution, I have frequently heard serious concerns, which I share, about the equality of representation for Richmond residents relative to other British Columbians. The City of Richmond has estimated our city's current population at 207,500, or an average of 68,333 constituents for each of Richmond’s 3 ridings. This is on-average a 32% higher deviation than the provincial average of 51,700 constituents per riding.

    With the incredible growth we’ve seen in Richmond, and even further growth expected in the near term, it is clear to me that Richmond requires a new riding, and in the medium term, our city will be able to support 4 ridings solely within its municipal boundaries. That said, I know we are likely not able to support four independent ridings within Richmond today. In order to address concerns about population balance for the upcoming election cycle, I recommend that the commission consider including the area known as Queensborough in Richmond ridings. The incorporation of Queenbsborough would add approximately 7,000 constituents to Richmond ridings, allowing for an average of 53,075 constituents per riding to be achieved with a 4-riding layout on Lulu Island. This not only makes sense from a population standpoint, but from communities of interest as well. The area known as Hamilton in East Richmond shares common shopping areas and amenities with the residents of adjacent Queensborough.

    This configuration also supports a reduction of overpopulation in the riding of New Westminster, which is overpopulated at over 65,000 constituents. Queensborough would be the most logical portion of the riding to transfer owing to its weaker community links stemming from its geographic isolation to the mainland of the city. Additionally, Queensborough’s growth profile and demographics much more closely fit that of the bordering Richmond neighborhood of Hamilton than with mainland New Westminster.

    Based on the above information, I propose a 4 riding set up for Richmond.

    New riding: Richmond-South Arm

    This proposal draws from Richmond-Steveston and Richmond East to create a new riding in south/central Richmond. The suggested name of “Richmond-South Arm” draws from its situation on the south arm of the Fraser River, and its incorporation of the South Arm neighborhood. The new riding can incorporate the following portions of neighboring ridings:

    Richmond-Steveston

    No. 2 Rd. would serve as the optimal boundary between the South Arm and Steveston ridings. Between Steveston Hwy and Blundell Road, its width and high-capacity nature serves to disrupt neighborhood links. South of Steveston Hwy., No. 2 Rd. serves as the demarcation between Steveston’s residential neighborhoods on the west and ALR farmland on the east.

    A No.2 Rd. boundary would be respectful of community boundaries; the communities of Woodwards and Broadmoor would be transferred from Richmond-Steveston in their entirety, ensuring that residents will have representatives accountable to the interests of their complete community. I live in the Broadmoor area, and I can tell you first hand we have more in common with the residents of Woodwards than we do with other areas of the city (shopping, community centres, etc.). The small portion of Steveston Village which extends east of No. 2 Rd. should remain in Richmond-Steveston.

    I estimate that the portion of Richmond-Steveston to be transferred to the new riding contains approximately 20,000 residents.

    Richmond East

    The majority of the new riding’s land mass will be drawn from Richmond-East, with Blundell Rd. serving as the northern boundary for the new riding and No. 6 rd. the eastern boundary.

    Blundell Rd. serves as the boundary between Richmond Steveston and Richmond Centre. Extending it as the boundary between Richmond-South Arm and Richmond East (until No. 6 Rd.) is logical as it demarcates the division between urban condominium and townhome oriented neighborhoods to the north and established single family home neighborhoods to the south. Furthermore, a continuous east-west bisecting boundary would minimize the confusion arising from interlocking riding boundaries.

    I estimate the portion of Richmond East to be transferred contains approximately 30,000 residents. The total population of Richmond-South Arm would be 45,000-50,000, within 15% of the target. Population growth in south Richmond is forecast to continue: the Fantasy Gardens redevelopment presently underway will alone add over 1,000 constituents to the new riding in the short term.

    Richmond-Steveston and Richmond Centre realignment

    The proposed new riding would rectify the overpopulation in Richmond East and Richmond-Steveston, but not Richmond Centre. And in the absence of further changes, Richmond-Steveston’s population would be unacceptably low at 40,000. I therefore propose to transfer the southwest corner of Richmond Centre to Richmond-Steveston, bounded by Mccallam Rd. in the east (essentially utilizing the natural boundary of the Railway Avenue Greenway) and the existing Blundell Rd. boundary in the south. I estimate that the area contains approximately 10,000-12,000 residents, which would bring Richmond-Steveston’s population well within the target range. Richmond Centre’s population would be brought down to approximately 53,000-55,000, creating room for anticipated population growth. The area to be transferred is single-family in nature, consistent with the majority of Richmond-Steveston but at odds with the highly urban character of Richmond Centre. Residents would benefit from a representative more understanding of their different set of priorities.

    Summary

    Richmond’s present and forecast population warrant the creation of a new riding on Lulu Island. As proposed, the creation of a new riding encompassing the south-central portion of Lulu Island would respect neighborhood boundaries and strengthen representation for all Richmond residents. The encompassment of Queensborough within Richmond East would rectify New Westminster’s overpopulation while integrating well with Richmond neighborhoods; and the transfer of northwest Richmond to Richmond-Steveston would maintain population balance and consolidate suburban and urban residents with respective representatives. I strongly encourage the commission to consider these changes.

    Sincerely,

    Chad Pederson



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