Councillor calls for city wards to be more equal in population

Coun. Shane Keating wants the boundaries of the city's 14 wards to be updated before the next election.

Coun. Shane Keating concerned his ward has 35,000 more people than smallest one

Ward 12 Coun. Shane Keating said he has the fastest growing ward in the city, which is just going to continue to grow. He said larger populations mean a greater workload for city councillors. (CBC)

A southeast Calgary city councillor wants the boundaries of the city's 14 wards to be updated before the next election.

Coun. Shane Keating said there's a growing disparity between his fast-growing ward and the smallest ward.

This year's census found there were 105,365 people living in Ward 12, while Ward 3 only had 69,877.

"There's a 35 per cent deficit from my ward to the smallest one and that's just going to continue to grow over the next number of years as Ward 12 is the fastest growing ward in the city of Calgary," said Keating.

It's also about ensuring there's a proper sharing of the workload among councillors.

"The greater the numbers, the greater the workload" he said.

Keating would like to see all of the wards have approximately the same number of residents to ensure Calgarians have more or less equal access to their elected representative.

New boundaries did take effect with the 2017 election. Keating said he had the most residents of any council member prior to that election and he still holds that distinction.

Boundaries review coming in '19

City clerk Laura Kennedy confirmed to council on Monday her office intends to start the process of reviewing ward boundaries in 2019 so redrawn ward maps are ready for the next municipal election in 2021.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said it's a good idea because unequal populations between wards can also create disparities in the workload for his council colleagues. 

Councillors try to maintain a presence at community association meetings but that is more of a challenge if their ward has a lot of communities.

Nenshi said, for example, Coun. Jeromy Farkas has the most communities.

"I believe that in Ward 11, he's got well over 20 community associations that he deals with and in Ward 3, there are two. So it's clear that council made a small error in setting up those boundaries," said Nenshi.

The boundaries are drawn up or altered by a ward boundaries commission but council as a whole gets the final say on the lines on the map.