The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for the Province for Ontario released a report on the final drawings of 122 electoral districts.
Many Kingston residents north of the 401 will be happy to see their homes included in the district of Kingston and the Islands, rather than the previously proposed drawing that would see them included in a new district of Gananoque-Brockville-Prescott and a roughly 90 kilometre drive to their constituency office.
Many Kingston residents provided negative feedback to that proposal, stating that it makes by far the most sense to be a part of Kingston and the Islands considering how closely tied their lives are to the City of Kingston, and that feedback was considered in the commission's decision.
Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen said he was pleased to see the results of the most recent redistribution drawing.
"The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for the Province for Ontario has listened to the countless voices that came forward from Kingston north of the 401 and agreed that these residents rightly belong in Kingston and the Islands," Gerretsen wrote.
"We are one step closer to having all residents of Kingston in the same electoral district again."
While the commission acknowledged residents of South Frontenac asking for the same thing, it stated that also doing that would be an unreasonably large population shift.
"The Commission also received submissions from residents in the Township of South Frontenac. Some residents requested that they be placed in Kingston and the Islands," the report reads.
"However, the Commission concluded that the resulting deviation from the Quota would be unreasonably large."
The proposed riding for Kingston and the Islands covers a much smaller land mass than its neighbouring districts, but is quite a bit more populous.
When some residents pleaded in November to be included in the Kingston district, Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MP Scott Reid wondered if moving residents north of the 401 from his district into Kingston and the Islands would further stretch that population gap among local districts.
“The problem of the rural ridings near Kingston being too small is already an issue,” Reid said.
“In short, Kingston and the Islands is already far more populous than any rural neighbour from which it could hope to pick up territory, and adding the population north of Highway 401 makes the problem substantially worse, on both sides of the equation.”
If the change is confirmed Kingston and the Islands will become the largest riding by population, increasing by roughly 15%.
Among other changes, the report also sees the City of Toronto losing an electoral district.
A final decision on the report is expected in June.
Story by Owen Fullerton, YGK News, for the Local Journalism Initiative