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EY ADVOCATE 023: Here we go again: back to the drawing board on ward boundary realignment

www.alanredway.com

www.alanredway.com

Toronto City Council has referred the “Final Report” of its consultants on the matter of New Ward Boundaries back to those same consultants for another “final” look at the subject.

As you possibly already know, the City of Toronto is presently divided into 44 municipal wards, three of which contain parts of the former Borough of East York. When the present ward boundaries were established the population of each ward was considered by the city to be roughly equal, but that is no longer so today.

Increases in population and housing density have been greater in some wards than in others. Today one of the 44 wards has a population of 88,435 while another has only 44,935. Thus, council retained consultants to hold public hearings and then make recommendations on ward boundary changes in order to achieve better ward population equality (rep by pop).

To date the consultants have issued three reports. The first outlined the results of their public consultations in 2015 and early 2016. The second set out three options and recommended that council take its pick. That didn’t fly with the councillors, however, so the consultants, after consulting with the councillors themselves, issued their “Final” report with a recommendation that the size of council be increased. That didn’t fly with the Mayor who had promised to keep expenses under control. So now, having taken two swings and whiffed on both of them, the consultants have been given another chance to hit a home run or strike out, before council itself becomes the pinch hitter.

But this gives all of us another chance to be consulted. WOW, this is becoming really expensive. Hopefully you knew the meetings were taking place in September and had your say at one of the four which were held at Metro Hall, North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke. Note: there was no meeting in East York.

I didn’t attend any of these either, but since they didn’t like my last suggestion I sent them another:

  • 1) Utilize the historic Metro Toronto boundaries as a starting point.
  • 2) Divide each of the former Toronto, North York, Scarborough, Etobicoke, York and East York into wards of 55,000 plus or minus but never cross an historic former Metro boundary in order to create a Ward.
  • 3) The former Metro Toronto Council had 40 members in proportion to the population of each of the former area municipalities. The present city council has 44 plus the Mayor.
  • 4) If Council adopted this approach they could reduce the number of councillors which would please a number of city residents. However it is unlikely that the present councillors would agree to reduce their numbers so alternatively they could massage the number of people in each Ward to arrive at 44 Wards.

Those of you who have read my book, “Governing Toronto: Bringing back the city that worked,” will know that what I have just suggested here is not my ideal solution. But until the province is ready to adopt my solution this is far better than what we have now or what the consultants have recommended to date.


 

My book, “Governing Toronto: Bringing back the city that worked,” can be ordered on line from Chapters/Indigo.ca or Amazon.ca or ordered for you at any book store.
If a local organization is looking for a speaker I shall be happy to make a presentation of my book and can be reached at alan.redway@gmail.com

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