Members of the Commission;
Thank you for offering me an opportunity to comment on your Preliminary Report.
I am a member of a pioneering Surrey farming family and a long serving member of Surrey Council and Mayor. I ran for election to the Legislature in 1976 in the Newton Constituency which at the time, was the largest Constituency in the Province and as I recall, had a population of something in the range of 180,000.
You have succeeded remarkably well in respecting one of the most fundamental principles, equal representation by population; a far cry from the condition that existed in 1976.
In the early development of Surrey, there was never a problem of community identity, one lived in Whalley, Newton or Cloverdale and even in White Rock with largely open spaces between.. As the spaces between developed it became harder and harder to recognize where one community ended and another began.
Yet the importance of community identity and development of a sense of social cohesion is as important today as it has ever been, and as subtle as identification of community through riding and constituency boundaries might be, it is nonetheless an important contributing element
The Commission has done a remarkable job in defining constituency boundaries that have a high level of coherency consistent with what citizens understand to be "their neighbourhoods"
The proposed boundaries for Newton now include significant parts of the town center that where previously not included.
Fleetwood has struggled over decades to find its center and with consistent policies to develop something of a town center through proper planning and investment in public facilities, there is a growing awareness of just where the center of Fleetwood actually is. Your defining the Fleetwood Constituency boundaries, as you have is terribly important. You might want to fine tune the boundary to include Fleetwood Park and Fleetwood School to strengthen that identity.
In a similar way, Guildford is clearly identifiable as a major town center and creating a constituency centered on Guildford is a considerable accomplishment. Tynhead may be of historic significance but can't be identified as the center of anything.
There is a strong sense of identity for residents of South Surrey and the area is one of the fastest growing in Surrey. With growth, the odd extension North might be removed through further adjustments in boundaries to redress future population inequities.
The Commissions proposal to redefine the Panorama District , removing an area to the south of the Nicomekl River, is totally rational and again serves to reinforce the identity of the Panorama town center .
I want to thank you for the wonderful work you have done on this important issue.