The Ontario Municipal Board has rejected a city plan to keep its ward boundaries basically the same. Instead, it's ordered a new ward on the west Mountain, and is eliminating rural Flamborough's dedicated ward altogether.
In a decision Tuesday, the OMB told the city to implement one of the options devised by a consultant it hired, Watson and Associates.
That option divides rural Flamborough — currently Ward 14 — among the Ancaster and Dundas wards. The new Ward 14 would be a new ward on the west Mountain.
If implemented, this reconfiguration would mean the same number of councillors — 15, plus the mayor — and leave the lower-city wards largely untouched.
Robert Pasuta, current Ward 14 councillor in rural Flamborough, said this move will further disenfranchise Flamborough voters who didn't want Hamilton to amalgamate 17 years ago to begin with. But he's not feeling optimistic.
"The decision's been made," he said. "I think this is one where it's done."
Brenda Johnson, Ward 11 councillor, understands dividing her ward. But she's not happy with the loss of the rural Flamborough ward either.
"People in the rural area have very little voice to begin with," she said.
The issue of ward boundaries has been an outstanding one since Hamilton amalgamated in 2001. The transition board at the time ruled that council revisit how wards are configured in 10 years. It took until 2016.
Council hired Watson and Associates, which said Hamilton had a drastic imbalance in how it was represented. Some wards had fewer than 20,000 people, it said, and some more than 60,000.
The city is also growing, the consultant said, which requires taking another look.
Council voted to make only slight changes. This year, two citizens challenged that decision at the OMB, which led to the decision Tuesday.
A previous version of this story included an outdated map of Hamilton's proposed ward boundaries.Dec 12, 2017 6:29 PM ET