One more candidate is in place for the May provincial election but two months out and the local ridings are short of a full slate.
The B.C. Green Party (BCGP) announced Monday that long-time local activist Wayne Froese has been nominated as the candidate for the Chilliwack riding.
Froese works in web design and online communications, and has been on the front lines for a number of causes over the years including the fights against a hazardous waste recycling facility in Chilliwack and in favour of a boycott salmon farms.
Most recently he’s been vocal and active in the move to settle Syrian refugees in Chilliwack.
“I believe that the BC Green Party’s time has come, as a better alternative for Chilliwack and for British Columbians,” Froese told the Progress. “The status quo, and the legacy from 16 years of BC Liberal governance, falls desperately short and won’t serve our community moving forward.
Party leader Andrew Weaver said Froese is exactly the type of person needed to represent the interests of British Columbians in Victoria.
“His work supporting the settlement of Syrian refugees in Chilliwack is inspiring,” Weaver said in a press release. “Wayne’s entrepreneurial spirit and his compassion for others make him an exceptional candidate to represent the people of Chilliwack.”
Green Party candidate Kim Reimer received 8.4 per cent of the vote in Chilliwack in the 2013 provincial election, which was won by BC Liberal MLA John Martin who garnered 47.6 per cent. Neither the NDP nor the BC Conservatives have nominated a candidate for the Chilliwack riding.
In 2013, NDP candidate Patti MacAhonic received 31.2 per cent of the votes in the riding.
An NDP party spokesperson said a contested nomination meeting is tentatively scheduled for March 19.
In the new riding of Chilliwack-Kent, which replaces Chilliwack-Hope with new boundaries, incumbent BC Liberal Laurie Throness, who won with 49.2 per cent in 2013, is up against the NDP’s MacAhonic who is this time running in her home riding. In the last election, Throness beat out New Democrat Gwen O’Mahony who garnered 36 per cent of the vote.
The Greens have not announced a candidate for Chilliwack-Kent, and the BC Conservatives, who fielded a candidate in both ridings in 2013, have no one announced as a candidate in any riding in the province.
BC Conservative candidate Chad Eros took 12 per cent of the vote in Chilliwack in 2013, and in Chilliwack-Hope, Michael Henshall took 10.8 per cent.
With the provincial election just two months off, residents should have received voter registration notices in the mail.
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 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.
The most notable change for the local population is the portion of Sardis that moves from Chilliwack to Chilliwack-Kent.
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.
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.