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

    P Williams, Surrey
    2014-11-16

    Over 24 years ago our we took a chance and moved to Surrey instead of one of the other many established cities in the lower mainland, and since that time we have seen Surrey continue to grow and mature. Surrey has become a ‘go to’ city for many young couples wanting to start a family or families looking for a larger residence while still having the amenities which they have grown accustomed to all within a short drive.

    According to the most recent Surrey stats (www.surrey.ca/6554.aspx) approximately 800 people every month move to Surrey not only making it the fastest growing City in the lower mainland but one of the fastest growing cities in Canada. The EBC’s own online data suggests this figure is in fact double at 1,600 new residents per month or 28% growth from 2011-2014.

    My reason for writing is I want to address the commission on three areas. First is proper representation, second is realignment and finally better riding boundaries.

    Proper Representation:

    In studying the representation of the various cities across the province one area which stood out was when comparing the population levels of the 11 Vancouver constituencies as follows, in 2008 there was a total of 590,243 and in 2014 increased to 658,980 or 11.6% growth. Comparatively, if we took a similar representation of Surrey and Langley, the two cities showing the most growth, the population levels of the 10 constituencies that encompass Surrey and Langley in 2008 had a population of 531,843 and more importantly in 2014 increased to 671,462 or just over a 26% increase.

    As you can see, the data suggests the population of Surrey-Langley has increased sharply in the past six years, therefore I believe there is ample justification to add at least one seat to bring it on par with Vancouver. Since they are almost identical in terms of total population, they should have the same number of seats.

    However while the population levels continue to increase it would appear not to justify two new seats for Surrey-Langley, at least not until another commission in eight years.

    Realignment:

    It is hard to take away something you already have and appreciating this as a potentially divisive topic I am trying to balance MY (our) tax paying dollars with proper representation. While reviewing the many of the ridings across the province there appeared to be immediate areas which could be consolidated. The commission should not just consider the addition of more seats without full consideration of reducing seats in areas which are decreasing in population or have had minimal growth.

    Any potential additions should first be offset by a possible rebalancing in other ridings thus keeping our cost for government the same.

    Riding Boundaries:

    Saving the hardest topic for last, I am going to speak specifically of my riding which is Surrey – Fleetwood. Sometimes it is easy to draw boundaries purely based on numbers to achieve a balance representation based on the available ridings in each area. What you may not have is a true understanding of how the community is laid out. However, by listening to the people who take time to inform / educate the commission of the various nuances of community inclusiveness you hopefully achieve a better understanding of how boundaries should be formed.

    Case in point Surrey - Fleetwood boundaries eliminate a key area from 96th avenue to 176th and down to 80th avenue. If you consider how communities live rather than balance by numbers I would tell you that this area truly associates themselves with Fleetwood and definitely not Tynehead. The majority of the residents shop at PriceMart, Safeway or the new Fresh Street Farms, all based in Fleetwood. In fact one of Fleetwood’s landmarks, the Two EE’s Produce, a long standing farmer’s market which everyone considers in Fleetwood is currently part of the Tynehead riding. And finally, the Fleetwood Community Pool, otherwise known as Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex, is again in Tynehead.

    The current boundaries have split the Fleetwood community in half and I would highly recommend that the Commission examine the expansion of Fleetwood to reincorporate the community as a whole rather than its current divisive boundaries. A simple adjustment of moving the Tynehead riding north from 80th to 96th and you would have a better representation of two ridings both focusing on the community which the residents feel they are part of and contribute.

    Thank you for taking time to read my thoughts and comments and knowing this is no easy undertaking I wish you the best in fulfilling your objectives.



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