Depending on the results of this year’s civic census, Calgary’s ward boundaries may be redrawn for the next municipal election.
There is a city council policy that says if there’s a significant deviation in population between certain areas, ward boundaries could be re-drawn.
Those boundaries were changed before the 2017 municipal election and city clerk told members of council’s priorities and finance committee there could be another change in time for the 2019 election.
“Plus or minus 25 per cent is a little off, so we have to do some adjustments,” city clerk Laura Kennedy said. “Do they have to happen across the city? That’s something we’ll determine and we will return in July with a review of the policy.”
Kennedy will come back to the committee in July and will take into account the latest information from the civic census — which began Monday — and recommend whether to re-draw boundaries.
Kennedy told committee she prefers a city-wide change as opposed to tweaking a few wards.
“The previous ward boundaries were not perfect,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said.
Nenshi favours another ward boundary review and believes a more equitable solution can be found.
“There’s quite a big differential from the largest and smallest wards, although it’s legal I would like to see it a little more equitable. I feel that we now have the technology and mapping software to be a little more sophisticated in those scenarios.”
Ward 11 Coun. Jeromy Farkas goes further to say that council members should have no say in voting on ward boundaries.
“Remember that we’re in this problem with the imbalance of the populations precisely because council chose to tinker with the previous recommendations made by the previous commission, headed up by former Mayor Al Duerr.”
If council votes to re-draw ward boundaries, a commission with citizen volunteers is set to look at mapping out the city into fourteen wards with as equal a population as possible.
Farkas said council should accept without complaint whatever the commission brings back.
“I would argue that when it comes to politician pay, ward boundaries, how elections should be conducted, this should be hands off from politicians it should be set independently.”