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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  Editorials Changing Ward Boundaries

by Doug Harvey

It's funny when some issues go before Central Elgin Council in a seemingly democratic form, from the people, by the people, such as a petition for change, that it's so easy to gauge from a bystanders point of view the measure of difficulty that will be created trying to change this something issue.

A good example of a something issue was changing the ward boundaries because of new or expanding neighbourhoods, things that make way to much sense to the taxpayer, and should be a fairly easy task to get changed. On paper it sounds easy, the Port Stanley community has been growing because of the quantity of new housing units being built, and the old ward boundaries just don't seem to take that into account, because at this moment in Port Stanley's growth much of the new housing currently being built in Port Stanley is actually being built in Ward 2, not Ward 1 Port Stanley.

The people that brought about this second attempt at changing the Ward 1 Boundary to include Little Creek, Sunset Bluffs, and adjacent properties should not be fooled by a verbal promise of we will do it later after the 2018 election. If we take a look at the Motion that was past after some rather seemingly positive discussions, the submitted petition was deemed to be invalid, and the only direction to staff that was made, was to request proposals for a ward boundary review, leading almost to the same kind of action that occurred in the first attempt for a ward boundary change in 2012. This also should be a clear sign that some real results on this issue will not be a walk in the park.

If we take a look at the current number of voters on the most recent voters list for all of Central Elgin then divide by the five Wards, this equals 2131 voters. The 2131 voters represents a number of voters that defines what equal representation should look like across all wards in Central Elgin. So if we take a look at our current voters list, three out of five are close to this number, with Ward 3 being under, and Ward 4 being over. Much of the difference in numbers of voters for Ward 3 and Ward 4 can be traced back to voters moving away completely, or moving into those new housing developments from the time when our current ward boundaries system was created when Central Elgin was first formed.

If at a later date, we do get to the stage where a ward boundary review was being conducted, another issue that will surely affect the Ward 1 boundary would be the new development on George Street that is already in Ward 1, and how that area with a proposed 151 new homes, a single 4-storey high-rise, and three 6-storey high-rises would certainly be adding a substantial number of voters causing significant imbalance in that ward equal representation system.

So even if a new ward boundary review finally does come to a vote in Council, by waiting for a year or maybe longer, the chances for that change will slowly disappear the longer it takes. So chances for the voters of Little Creek, Sunset Bluffs, and adjacent properties to be included in Ward 1 doesn't seem to be in the big picture for now, as most of Council pointed out "we can't do this now, it's just bad timing".

Last Updated: Thursday, 16 November 2017 17:16:32 PM EST

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