I've had the luxury of living and working in both the Fraser Canyon and Chilliwack most of my life, so have experienced both communities first hand. I have to say that I think the BC Electoral Boundaries Commission gets it when it says that the former riding of Yale-Lillooet is not being fairly or adequately represented by the numbers of people living within the defined geographic area. Chilliwack, Abbotsford and even the smaller hamlets like Agassiz, Yarrow, Rosedale and Cultus Lake are experiencing phenomenal growth therefore their political and economic issues are one of controlling and managing growth. Highway systems, water, sewer, policing, hospitals and schools all have to increase in order to accommodate this burgeoning population.
Hope and it's outlying areas are far different. I believe in the last Census Canada report Hope's population actually declined slightly. Plagued by business shutdowns, a hospital formerly on the verge of closing and schools being shuddered, these issues are not one's of growth but of an incalcitrant economy. How does any political representative deal with these diametrically opposed community interests? Not easy. Often they go to the path of least resistance whereby controlling growth is far easier and much less contentious than trying to kick-start or develop an anemic regional economy.
The small towns and villages that dot the Fraser-Nicola landscape will continue to learn from one another. Currently the small City-of-Merritt is undergoing a renaissance of sorts and every other community in the former Yale-Lillooet riding is hoping to emulate even a fraction of Merritt's small successes in diversifying their local economic base. I trust that in the not so distant future Hope and the Fraser Canyon communities will have one distinct regional voice made whole again by this Commission's fine work.
I thank you for the time and consideration that it takes to bring fairness and balance into an ever changing social landscape.