A report which recommends redrawing federal ward boundaries in the province has led to a proposed shift in the boundaries for two north Winnipeg ridings.
The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Manitoba has issued a report which proposes adjusting the boundaries of 12 of Manitoba’s 14 federal ridings, including Kildonan-St. Paul and Winnipeg North. The report has been tabled in the House of Commons, and if passed the new boundaries would come into effect in October 2015.
The commission has adjusted the border between the two ridings, shifting the Amber Trails and Maples neighbourhoods into Winnipeg North. The boundary change submitted by the commission was changed from its original plan following public feedback.
"Our initial proposal split in two the former municipality of Old Kildonan as well as the community of The Maples," the commission’s report states.
"We have been persuaded to return to the existing boundary, except for the most westerly part. We have transferred the rest of Amber Trails to the Winnipeg North riding. The new line will keep all of Old Kildonan in the Kildonan-St. Paul riding. It will also cause all of The Maples and Amber Trails to be together in the Winnipeg North riding."
As part of the proposed boundary changes, the population for Winnipeg North would rise to 88,616, which represents an increase of 2.68%.
"That’s no surprise. As the population has grown, one would anticipate ridings themselves would grow, and that’s the case for Winnipeg North," Winnipeg North MP Kevin Lamoureax said in a telephone interview from Ottawa.
Kildonan-St. Paul would have a population of 81,794, a drop of 5.23%.
Lamoureaux said he sees his riding’s growth as "a good thing" but noted he is concerned with making sure The Maples, as a voter base, remained whole on riding maps. An earlier proposal by the commission had split the neighbourhood between the two ridings, and Lamoureaux made a presentation to have it remain unified, regardless of which riding it was placed in.
"My concern was that The Maples is very much a community in itself, and keeping it together was critically important," he said.
"I’m glad the commission saw the merit of keeping it together. Whether it was in Winnipeg North or Kildonan-St. Paul was secondary."
Adding Amber Trails, he said, is a natural move because many area residents closely identify with The Maples.
"They complement each other," he said of the two neighbourhoods.
Lamoureaux said for the time being he plans to continue focusing on homes in the riding based on its current configuration.
"As of right now, I have 27,000 homes in Winnipeg North, and there’s just under 1,000 in Amber Trails," he said.
"I’ve got to focus my attention on the 27,000 over the next year or so, and as we get closer to the election and if I do get some downtime, I’ll spend some time there."