Ottawa

Jim Watson urges putting off ward boundary review until 2019

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is urging councillors in the finance and economic development committee to delay a ward boundary review until after the next municipal election.

Ottawa mayor prefers comprehensive review after next municipal election

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says residents and municipal politicians should take their time and study hard before any ward boundary review begins. (CBC)

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson is urging councillors in the finance and economic development committee to delay a ward boundary review until after the next municipal election.

Watson sent a memo to councillors on Monday just as the agenda for the finance and economic development committee was released.

The committee will meet on June 29 and will review four options regarding a possible review of ward boundaries in Ottawa.

Watson's preferred choice was no review until a comprehensive review in 2019. He said there would be no cost to this option.

"The major challenge is that Ward 3, Barrhaven, is significantly larger than the average ward while the rural wards are smaller," he wrote.

Little appetite for change, Watson writes

Other options included a "limited" review, a "focused" review that looked at Cumberland, Ottawa East and other areas where the suburban-rural split was an issue, and a comprehensive review that could take more than a year to complete and would cost $300,000 to $325,000.

"The report indicates that there have been very few requests from residents asking for a change to their ward boundary, and I can confirm that I have not heard from anyone over the past four and a half years looking for a change," he wrote to councillors.

Watson said aiming for a boundary review four years from now allows new candidates and residents to prepare far ahead of time.

Watson also said he does not want any more council seats and wants to ensure the role of rural wards is not "diluted."

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