Riding boundary changes being considered federally may result in the end of the current Simcoe-Grey and the creation of the new Collingwood-Blue Mountains.
The new riding would encompass Grey Highlands, The Blue Mountains, Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Clearview, Mulmur, Essa and part of Adjala-Tosorontio. The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Ontario is considering riding boundary changes to address population changes that will see Ontario receive an extra seat in the House of Commons.
Full information about the process can be found online here.
If the proposal is implemented, it is expected that provincial ridings would be adjusted to mirror the changes.
At its committee of the whole meeting on Sept, 13, The Blue Mountains council discussed the changes and the proposal was greeted positively by members of council. However, Grey Highlands council expressed concerns at its meeting on Sept. 7 and will have a more comprehensive discussion at its next meeting on Sept. 21.
The Municipality of Grey Highlands is currently in the riding of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound and under this change would join The Blue Mountains as the two Grey County municipalities aligned with neighbours in Simcoe County.
“It’s all based on population. I don’t know if voicing our concern will do any good,” commented Grey Highlands Coun. Paul Allen at the Sept. 7 meeting.
The Blue Mountains council saw the proposal in a more favourable light.
Coun. Rob Sampson brought the issue to the Sept. 13 committee of the whole meeting. Sampson acknowledged there wasn’t much reason for the town itself to make a comment about the proposal to the commission, but suggested the public be aware as comments are due by Sept. 25.
“We’re going to be headlined,” Sampson noted, in reference to “Blue Mountains” being in the new riding’s suggested name.
Coun. Andrea Matrosovs said the new riding is closer to the regional approach council has often touted in recent years.
“This is looking more like South Georgian Bay,” she said. “This is aligning with the South Georgian Bay formula and it ties in all our neighbours.”
Coun. Paula Hope echoed the comments made by Matrosovs.
“This is more aligned to how we think and to the regional way we want to encourage other municipalities to think. I think it works very well,” said Hope, who suggested The Blue Mountains provide the commission with positive feedback and indicate the town’s happiness with being included in the riding’s name.
However, Matrosovs suggested the town leave the naming of the riding to the commission.
“Let’s leave it to the federal government how they’re going to name it. We look forward to working with our neighbours in South Georgian Bay in one riding,” she said.
Coun. Bill Abbotts expressed disappointment the new proposed riding doesn’t include the Municipality of Meaford.
“When I think of South Georgian Bay, Meaford is included,” he said.
Council voted unanimously to receive the information about the proposed changes and encourage local residents to submit comments about the proposal.
Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca