With a provincial election in British Columbia on the horizon, residents should be receiving voter registration notices in the mail soon if they haven’t already.
For first-time voters or for anyone who has moved since the last election, registering either online or over the phone is a good idea to save time on voting day, which is May 9, 2017.
What voters also will want to note is whether or not the electoral district has changed, as boundaries were adjusted in 2015.
The two existing local ridings, Chilliwack and Chilliwack-Hope, changed in very different ways.
Chilliwack-Hope, represented currently by BC Liberal Laurie Throness, is nearly 11,000 square kilometres and spreads east of the Fraser Canyon and nearly as far west and north as Whistler.
The new Chilliwack-Kent (bringing back the old name) reduces the district’s size to 3,168 square kilometres, eliminating Hope and the Fraser Canyon.
(See below story for larger map of Chilliwack-Kent)
The most notable change for the local population is the portion of Sardis that moves from Chilliwack to Chilliwack-Kent (see map and detailed description below).
Provincewide, the number of B.C. electoral districts went from 85 to 87 with new ridings in Surrey and Richmond/New Westminster to reflect growing population in those areas.
As far as candidates go, Throness announced he will seek re-election in Chilliwack-Kent and one-time Patti MacAhonic is running for the NDP in the riding. MacAhonic ran for the NDP in the Chilliwack riding in 2013.
In Chilliwack, BC Liberal John Martin will seek re-election and the NDP have yet to announce a candidate, although a spokesperson said they should have a name by the end of February.
No candidates for the Green Party, BC Conservatives or any other party have been announced locally. The Greens have announced several candidates in ridings across B.C. The BC Conservatives so far have none.
What exactly has changed in Chilliwack?
South of the highway:
For folks in Yarrow west of Giesbrecht Road, the riding is (still) Chilliwack. For those east of Giesbrecht and people in Cultus Lake, the Chilliwack River Valley and the Columbia Valley, the riding that was Chilliwack-Hope is now Chilliwack-Kent.
People in Greendale are still in Chilliwack, including everyone west of Lickman. Those north of South Sumas to the Highway are also still in the Chilliwack riding. And those east of Lickman and south of Sumas including all of Vedder Crossing are in Chilliwack-Kent. Promontory, Ryder Lake, the Eastern Hillsides and East Chilliwack are also all in Chilliwack-Kent.
What is different in Sardis in 2017, is that the Sardis Park area, including every home bounded by Vedder Road to the west, Prest Road to the east, Bailey Road to the south, and Highway 1 to the north, which was in the Chilliwack riding, is now in Chilliwack-Kent.
North of the highway:
In Chilliwack proper, nothing has changed. The boundary is still Prest/Yale/Reeves/Jesperson/Carey from Highway 1 to the Fraser River. All those to the west of that boundary are in Chilliwack, to the east in what was Chilliwack-Hope are now in Chilliwack-Kent.
Outside the city, what has also changed to the east of Chilliwack, hence the name change, is that the Fraser Canyon, Hope and portions west as far as the Peters Reserve are now in the Fraser-Nicola Electoral District.
To the north, the Chilliwack-Kent riding now stops near the top of Harrison Lake and portions further north that were in Chilliwack-Hope are now in West Vancouver-Sea to Sky.
Check out the Elections BC website for details about the 2017 Provincial General Election, including links to higher resolution maps.