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Five wards it is

Council agrees on new ward boundaries for 2010

RE-WARDED: Council is set to approve a slightly altered ward boundary map for the 2010 election.

Councillors have finally settled on a new political map of the city, one that sticks with five wards.

After a lengthy and at times heated debate at city hall Monday, a last-minute addition to the list of ward configurations being considered won council’s favour.

Known officially as 5 Ward E, the chosen ward map represents a minor change from the current system and will be in effect for the 2010 municipal election if it is approved on May 5.

Specifically, Ward 2 would remain unchanged. Ward 3 would grow north to Teston Rd., gobbling up a portion of Ward 1. Ward 4 also would expand north into Ward 1 territory, taking over the northeast corner of the city from Rutherford Rd. to King-Vaughan Rd., roughly from Keele St. to Bathurst St. Ward 4 would cede a little ground on its eastern border to Ward 5.

“If you look at the existing ward system and 5 E, 5 E is probably the closest to the existing ward system of any of the options presented from anywhere,” Ward 1 councillor Peter Meffe said.

Currently, Ward 1 has the highest population with just under 80,000 residents and Ward 5 has the lowest with about 38,000. On average, each Vaughan ward councillor represents roughly 54,000 constituents.

Under the redrawn map, Ward 1 would still boast the largest population with 57,500 people. Ward 4 would be the least populated with just under 52,000.

“All that’s really happened here is you’ve taken away some population from Ward 1,” Meffe said.

During the ward boundary review process, several six-ward options were also looked at but were dismissed by councillors because of economic concerns. According to a city report, adding a sixth ward councillor would cost upward of $150,000 per year.

But with population figures projected to grow, the door was left open for a sixth ward. Council plans to ask voters if they want to add a councillor for the 2014 election through a question on the ballot in next year’s municipal vote.

Redrawing the ward map will also affect the election of school board trustees.

“In terms of the schools and a balance between the number of schools represented by the two public school trustees, incredibly (5 Ward E) works perfect,” Councillor Tony Carella said.

Council is set to confirm the new ward map on May 5.

Vaughan Today
In print: April 24, 2009, page 1
Online: April 23, 2009 [link]