Possible ward boundary review coming to Sudbury city council
Wards haven't been redesigned since 2005
How the City of Greater Sudbury is divided into wards is on the city council agenda once again.
Back in 2015, city council decided to wait to review the ward boundaries until after the 2018 election. The current wards haven't been redrawn since 2005 and before that the city had six wards with two councillors in each.
The ward boundary and governance review is on the agenda for Tuesday's city council meeting. The report is for information only, so no changes will be made to ward boundaries during the meeting. The second part of the report, the governance review, discusses the current council model — 12 wards with one councillor for each — as well as compensation for city councillors.
Ward 7 councillor Mike Jakubo says the report now gives the opportunity for a councillor or councillors to put forward a motion asking for a review on either topic.
Jakubo says he would like to see changes to the current ward system, which he says could create "ward centric decision making" rather than making decisions for the good of the city as a whole.
In 2015, Jakubo did offer a suggestion for changes, however, council decided not to review the wards at that time.
"What I was proposing at that time was to reduce the number of wards to eight and then to have four at large councillors, so you'd still have the same number of councillors being twelve plus a mayor but you'd have a hybrid type of model," he said.
Former Ward 2 councillor, Jaques Barbeau agrees that it's time for a change.
"I think it's time the city goes to an at large system and there should not be any boundaries, we continually struggle with the challenges of a large city and every ward councillor is simply thinking about their own ward instead of thinking about the benefit of the city in general," said Barbeau.
An at large system would mean that there are no wards and all eligible voters in the city would vote for all 12 councillors, rather than just one councillor in their ward.
Barbeau says he realized while he was a city councillor that the ward system just didn't work for the city.
"You're elected by the people in your ward and you want to represent the people in your ward, but too many people on council... strictly voted on issues pertaining to their wards only," he said.
Some wards have too much infrastructure that's not needed, says Barbeau, which he says adds burden to the tax payers who pay for these things.
"Let's have better opportunities instead of having 13 playgrounds that are less than adequate. Let's have six that are that are really good facilities," Barbeau said.