British Columbia

B.C. Votes 2017: Surrey South riding profile

A look at Surrey South, one of the 87 electoral districts in British Columbia.

MCFD Minister Stephanie Cadieux seeks a third straight win in her third new riding

The riding of Surrey South includes parts of the Surrey South neighbourhood, but also parts of Panorama and Cloverdale. (Elections BC)

In advance of the 2017 B.C. election, we'll be profiling all 87 electoral districts in the province. Here is Surrey South, one of nine ridings in Surrey — and where a veteran MLA seeks re-election in a new riding.

1. Like any high-profile cabinet minister, Stephanie Cadieux knows that how constituents view her may be different from voters in the rest of the province.

"In the riding, I'm Stephanie. I'm the MLA and I'm Stephanie," the Minister of Children and Family Development says.

Cadieux has been MCFD minister for over four years, longer than any previous MLA has held the post.

"That doesn't mean people aren't aware I'm the minister or are aware of things that are happening, but certainly people's first concern is how I am as their MLA, and beyond that it's 'Okay, this ministry is struggling, what are the challenges, what are you doing about it.' They have questions ... but generally. it's not the topic people raise with me." 

2. Cadieux is running in her third riding in three elections.

The former BC Paraplegic Association director of marketing and development won in Surrey-Panorama in 2009 and Surrey-Cloverdale in 2013, both by wide margins.  

But no area of British Columbia has seen greater population growth in the last decade than southeastern Surrey, and so the Electoral Boundaries Commission gave the region this new seat, which Cadieux chose to run in.

"It was a fairly easy decision for me, only because I live in Surrey South," she said.

"I haven't had the incumbency advantage before, so I'm not afraid to try again in what is called a new riding."

3. The area is defined by its rapid growth.

The new riding is oddly shaped, stretching from Mud Bay to the Langley border, excluding parts of South Surrey south of 24th Avenue and west of 128th Street, but also including bits of East Cloverdale and Clayton. 

There are suburban parts of the riding, agricultural lands, and plenty of areas where new subdivisions have appeared. 

"You can't live here and not feel that growth. It's palpable. At any given time over the last eight years, there could be 30 difference developments underway," said Cadieux. "People are moving in as fast as they can build a home."  

4. However, Cadieux and the B.C. Liberals are considered heavy favourites here. 

While it's a new riding, the region has almost always supported right-of-centre parties provincially and federally, and the NDP has never won an electoral district in this area. 

The Liberals received 63.4 per cent of the vote in polling stations within this new riding in 2013, vastly more than the 25.2 per cent received by the NDP.

The NDP candidate is Jonathan Silveira, a real estate agent and mortgage broker. The Green Party candidate is Pascal Tremblay, co-founder of The Good Kind, a design strategy agency.

5. Where does the NDP do well? 

There are some areas in east Cloverdale and Clayton where the party has won a polling station or two, specifically south of the Fraser Highway and east of Clayton Park.   

6. What about the Liberals? 

It broadly does well everywhere, gaining over 50 per cent of the vote in polling stations over the last three elections. However, the party's strength is in the areas of south Surrey between Crescent Road, 132nd Street, 24th Avenue and King George Boulevard, where they regularly receive between 65 and 80 per cent in some polling stations. 

7. One issue likely to be talked about: education.

There are few places in B.C. with as many young families as Surrey South, which means school spaces are likely to be a large issue.

According to Surrey Students Now, there are 59 schools in Surrey that use portable classrooms, and 15 of those include students from Surrey South. 

The Liberals recently pledged $217 million to curtail chronic overcrowding in Surrey — but whether parents find the response satisfying won't be seen until election day.