By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Hamilton retained its federal electoral boundaries, after an outcry last fall from residents about proposed changes that would have merged districts in the downtown with suburban areas.
After hearing from residents in October 2012, the three-member boundary commission of Ontario proposed transforming the city’s federal boundaries along a north-south line that would have joined Hamilton West with Dundas, Stoney Creek with the Mountain, and merged Ancaster with the rural areas of Flamborough and Glanbrook.
The public outcry was so intense, a second, day-long session was held last November where about 20 people voiced their displeasure at the changes. Hamilton Centre NDP MP David Christopherson told the commission the new district for his area would be “harmful to residents in both (Hamilton and Dundas).”
Patricia Strung, from the NDP federal riding association of Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough and Westdale, told the commission Ancaster shouldn’t be lumped in with the rural areas of Flamborough and Glanbrook.
The commission listened to those concerns, and revealed in its revamped electoral maps on Feb. 26, which adds one more district, only minor changes to its original proposals.
Some of the tweaks include renaming the predominately rural riding of Waterdown-Glanbrook to Flamborough-Glanbrook; creating the stand-alone district of Ancaster, incorporating a portion of the southwest corner of Hamilton Mountain, but separate from its rural neighbours; expanding Hamilton Centre to Kenilworth Avenue North and south of Burlington Street; including Rymal Road East and Rymal Road West to Garth Street, along the Lincoln Alexander Parkway to West 5th Street as the boundaries for Hamilton Mountain.
The boundary commission also sliced off Kenilworth Avenue North and south of Burlington Street, from Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, where it landed within Hamilton Centre’s boundary, while extending its district to Hamilton’s border. In addition, the commission renamed Niagara West-Glanbrook to Niagara West.
The commission submitted its report to the chief electoral office of Canada, who sent it on to the Speaker of the House of Commons where it was tabled. Parliament will begin reviewing the report, with MPs allowed to file any objections to the proposals.
The commission received its mandate from the federal government February 2012 to draft a report on the redistribution of electoral districts across the country. The commission had to create 15 new electoral districts, with Ontario receiving the largest number to 121.
Ontario, the commission said, is the fastest growing province in the country, and new districts were required for Kitchener, Hamilton, Niagara, Milton, Brampton, Barrie,Toronto, and Ottawa.