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Ward decision postponed

Council defers ward review decision to allow residents’ comments

Councillors decided Tuesday to hold off making a decision on redrawing the city’s ward boundaries to give residents another chance to make their opinions known.

Four people ready to make deputations on the issue were in council chambers, but the rules for council meetings don’t typically allow them, city spokesperson Madeline Zito said.

“Committee of the whole offers the opportunity for deputations,” she said. “They put it over till next week and at that point those individuals can make those deputations.

“The way that they could accommodate it was to push it forward.”

After the next committee of the whole meeting, scheduled for 1 p.m. on April 20, the ward boundary issue will again come before council for a vote.

Several options for a redrawn ward map have come forward through the city’s review process, including some that would create a sixth ward.

According to a city staff report, a new ward councillor would cost upward of $150,000 a year, which is why a six-ward option probably won’t be adopted, some councillors say.

The most likely outcome is a five-ward configuration that more evenly distributes population, councillors Alan Shefman and Tony Carella said recently.

As things currently stand, each Vaughan ward councillor represents an average of roughly 54,000 constituents. Ward 1 has the highest population with just under 80,000 residents and Ward 5 has the lowest with about 38,000.

“Council has long recognized that Vaughan’s rapidly growing population creates increasing imbalance in ward populations over time,” the staff report states. “The current ward structure was put in place as an interim measure, it being recognized that a ward boundary review be conducted prior to the 2010 general municipal election.”

Changing the city’s ward map would also impact the election of school board trustees.

Vaughan Today
In print: April 17, 2009, page 5
Online: April 19, 2009 [link]