SCUGOG: The Township of Scugog is looking at possibly modifying its ward boundaries before the 2018 election.
At a meeting held on Monday, Dec. 12th, Council approved a recommendation to hire Watson and Associates Economists Ltd., partnered with Dr. Robert J. Williams, to conduct a ward boundary review for the Township, at a cost of $39,500.
According to a report by Township clerk J.P. Newman, a review of the Township’s ward boundaries has not been done since 1993. The report states this has resulted in “the acceptable difference between the populations in each of the wards” having “fallen grossly out of proportion.”
Drawing from information from the 2011 census, the clerk found that the average number of residents per ward should be 4,345.
However, the current ward system appears to be imbalanced. According to the report: Ward 1 is 17 per cent over the average, with a population of 5,096 residents; Ward 2 is 23 per cent over the average, with 5,355 residents; Ward 3 is 40 per cent under the average, with 2,578 residents; Ward 4 is 7 per cent over the average, with 4,661 residents; and Ward 5 is 7 per cent under the average, with a population of 4,038 residents.
Mr. Newman wrote in his report that, “ideally, the wards would be balanced, however, this is not usually possible.” The acceptable range of difference recommended in the report is within 20 per cent of the average.
To officially change the Township’s ward boundaries, Council must pass a bylaw. Residents will be notified about the changes within 15 days of the bylaw passing. The Township would then need to deal with any appeals about the bylaw, before Jan. 1st, 2018.