City Staff Starting Ward Boundary Review (Plus Feedback for Procedural Bylaw)

Back in November, Guelph City Council reached the conclusion that they need to get more feedback about the future of council composition. Fortunately, there was a second phase of input for the project, and it’s finally here: the ward boundary review. City of Guelph staff are now looking for feedback on where the new wards should be, and they’re also hoping that there might now be consensus on how many councillors that those wards should have.

“This phase is really about establishing what’s most important to the community,” said manager of Legislative Services Dylan McMahon in a statement. “Whether that’s keeping certain neighbourhoods intact, having as close to equal populations as we can in each ward, or considering natural or physical barriers that are important to Guelph.”

Monday saw the initiation of the first phase of the ward boundary review, and it will continue until January 22. Members of the public taking part in the survey will be asked to consider matters of population, projected growth, communities of interest, and natural boundaries when creating the new wards. This input will be incorporated into the next phase of the review in March when residents will be asked to view several different boundary options.

At the same time, staff will be asking for feedback about council composition. At their November meeting on the subject, council directed staff to engage with residents on the possible scenarios for eight, 10 and 12 councillors, whether there should be one or two councillors from each ward, and whether those councillors will be part-time or full-time.

“Council’s composition is significantly impacted by how many wards Guelph has,” added McMahon. “Residents will be engaged on several ward boundary options where they can provide feedback on the total number of councillors and the number of councillors elected per ward in addition to different ward boundary scenarios.”

By April, residents will be asked for their preferred council structures and ward boundaries, and a final report will come forward for council approval in June.

Click here to go to the City’s “Have Your Say” site and offer your feedback now. You will also be able to take part in a virtual town hall scheduled for next Wednesday, January 13, at 7 pm to offer your feedback and get more information about the potential options.

If that’s not enough council business to keep you busy, City staff is also looking for feedback about some aspects of the Procedural Bylaw, the set of rules that outline the governing of city council. Specifically, staff are asking about delegating in council meetings, whether or not councillors should be allowed to use proxies, and general discussion about other areas of the bylaw that need to be improved.

You can now post your feedback at the “Have Your Say” page on the City’s website from now until January 22. There’s no word on when the proposed changes to the Procedural Bylaw will be presented to council.

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