By Tyson Leonard
Belleville voters will be divided into two different ridings for the next federal election.
The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission released a report this week that shifts riding boundaries in Ontario while adding 15 new ridings.
Most of Belleville will become part of the new Bay of Quinte riding. However Thurlow Ward will become part of the Hastings- Lennox and Addington riding.
Mayor Neil Ellis said he wanted Thurlow to remain in the same riding as the rest of Belleville, but can see the benefit of the changes.
“When the election does fall we will have different members and maybe different political stripes representing the area and in a minority government maybe that situation might help,” said Ellis.
Ellis also mentioned some more concrete benefits.
“I think when you look at the riding it’s geographically going to be a lot easier for the MP’s and MPP’s to cover,” said Ellis.
The new Bay of Quinte riding will be much smaller than the current Hastings and Prince Edward County riding. Instead of extending north of Belleville the new riding will extend west and include the City of Quinte West.
Ellis said the changes may open up more room for cooperation with Quinte West.
Daryl Kramp, MP for the current Hastings and Prince Edward County riding, said the boundary changes will have less impact for his office.
“Federal and provincial politics are on a larger scale than municipal, and any boundary changes are going to affect those politics less,” said Kramp.
Kramp said the biggest change will be getting to know the new constituents, but said he suspects there will be a lot of shared interests across the new riding.
The next planned election is for October 19, 2015 but circumstances could lead to an earlier election. Kramp will be running for reelection in the new Bay of Quinte riding.
With files from Alisa Howlett