Calgary city council to look at ward boundaries 2 years after last change

Redrawing ward boundaries in Calgary will be back on the agenda at city hall in 2019, after boundaries were recently redrawn just before the 2017 municipal election.

Councillor Shane Keating says after the 2018 civic census, he’s concerned about the discrepancy in the size of wards.

“Some of the significant deviations between our highest-populated ward and our least-populated ward,” Keating said Monday. “Ward 12 has 105,300 and the smallest is ward 3 with 69,800. That’s a massive difference when you look at representation.”

“I know that our allowable deviation is 10 to 15 per cent, which is consistent with current decisions. And the maximum allowed deviation is plus or minus 25 per cent, which means you could have a 50 per cent difference between one ward and another.”

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“For the next general election in 2021, we will be revisiting the ward boundaries in 2019 because of those sort of deviations,” city clerk Laura Kennedy confirmed.

Kennedy also noted there isn’t enough time to redraw the ward boundaries for the upcoming Olympic plebiscite.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said population growth could take care of redrawing the wards.

“It’s clear that council made a small error in setting up those boundaries. The question is: Is it something that needs to be fixed before the next election or will growth look after the differential?”

Nenshi also said one result of the wards being redrawn is to create more wards, increasing the number of councillors from the current 14.

“If you were to add two–from 14 to 16–I think that’s still manageable. But… there does come a point that city council is too big and I think you’re seeing that in Toronto.”

–With files from Aurelio Perri

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