I am a 45-year resident of Surrey and for the past 26 years have served my community as an elected member of Surrey City Council. My husband Michael and I have raised our two children here, and are proud grandparents of three grandsons.
Thank you for your service to British Columbians and our democratic system. You have been entrusted with a profound responsibility to adhere to the constitutionally derived principles of effective representation, to conduct your work in accordance with the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, and to explain and seek input on your proposals in the always highly charged court of public opinion. This is no small task and your efforts are deserving of our collective appreciation.
Your Preliminary Report calls for the addition of an electoral district within the City of Surrey and, perhaps unsurprisingly, I wholeheartedly support this proposal. You have correctly identified Surrey as one of the most underrepresented areas of the province; the addition of a district is a necessary measure to ensure effective representation for our diverse and growing population.
The comments constituents have made directly to me on your proposals have been near unanimous in their positivity. I share this sentiment. Specifically, the relocation of my neighbourhood of Crescent Beach back into the Surrey-White Rock district reflects a coherent community of interest based in part on our proximity to the Pacific Ocean and well-established local patterns of transportation, commerce, and community engagement.
South Surrey has experienced especially high growth in the past decade, and this trend shows no sign of abating as more and more people recognize it as a great place to live, work and raise a family. The creation of a new Surrey South electoral district is timely as this area faces the opportunities and challenges that always accompany significant change. While the inclusion of some parts of East Cloverdale and Clayton Heights in the Surrey South district appeared upon first glance to be something of an anomaly, I am satisfied by your rationale.
I appreciate your efforts to make changes to electoral districts “only where logical and necessary.” With the addition of a district, significant changes in parts of Surrey are unavoidable, and I accept the logic of your proposals. As creatures of habit, change can be difficult for people to embrace; in that context, I respect the opinions of those fellow residents who would prefer if you were to maintain the status quo. However, while your process rightly takes history into account and seeks to maintain existing boundaries to the extent possible, the pursuit of effective representation is first and foremost a numbers game. I believe you have generally succeeded in balancing the oftentimes-conflicting principles of equal representation by population and protecting meaningful communities of interest in all nine of the electoral districts proposed for Surrey.
Thank you again for your efforts.